Skip to main content

Full text of "Scutari and its hospitals"

See other formats


BIOMED 






■■; '■■!'. ! 'V;;.; 



^isi 



C/-)- 



S2 



1?^ 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



t§s 



'^f-f" 




SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS 



BY THE 



HON. & EEV. SYDNEY GODOLPHIN OSBORNE. 



-000- 



LONDON: 

DICKINSON BROTHERS, 111, NEW BOND ST. 

BLANDFOED: "WTLLIAM SHIPP, MABKET-PLACB. 



MDCCCLV. 



Hrfrrrnrt tn ]^m\ nf %nm[ i£'>nmt 

The private soldiers are buried in tlie large graves next to tlie building : 

the officers, in those next the sea, with small wooden 

tablets, at tlie head of each srave. 



8 

HS 

V 
1355 



PREFACE 



In the following pages I am afraid my readers will find little that can afford 
pleasure. If I had aimed at writing on this unhappy subject that which would 
have pleased, I must have aimed also to deceive. I can claim this much for 
myself, the facts I relate, tlie opinions I have given, are from an independent 
witness. I went upon my self-imposed mission, altogether unfettered, I had nothing 
to gain from any one particular course of conduct. I sought the truth, and took 
my own way to arrive at it. Whether that truth would please or displease the 
public, or the Government, was to me a matter of indiiference ; I had nothing to 
gain or to fear from either. 

I have in my possession ample means of proving, that I did press upon the 
Authorities in the East, and at home, the existence of that shameful state of 
things I now thus publish ; and that on my return home, I did receive the thanks 
of the Government, for my efforts at Scutari 



VI PREFACE. 

Since the greater part of this volume was prepared for the press, the force 
of public opinion has exacted from the "executive," a Parliamentary Committee 
of Enquiry; I rejoice at this, if only as a small instalment of the justice that 
sliould be done, to the memory of the many thousands of my fellow creatures, 
who I believe, lost their lives through the apathy, ignorance, folly and mis- 
conduct of the parties immediately entrusted with the details of this war. 

That this Committee will ever get at to expose, those who have been the 
most culpable, 1 do not believe ; for I know well how easy it is for powerful 
popular men in high station, to so trammell these enquiries, as to shield the 
great offenders, and sacrifice the subalterns. I know in this case, there has 
already been a disposition, to try by the sacrifice of one nobleman, to turn 
the tide of public curiosity from too narrow a scrutiny of the conduct of those, 
who wei-e just as responsible as he was, but who had not the manliness to 
admit it. 

In my own opinion the whole of the Cabinet of which the Duke of Newcastle 
was a member, were quite as open to accusation as he was. The most culp- 
able of all, was that very noble Lord, who stamping the affairs of the East 
as " horrible and heartrending," still sat at the table with the Minister at War, 
until it served his purpose to make a merit of his betrayal. 

"Horrible, heartrending" as has been the Camp and Scutari records of the 
war ; reflecting as they do most justly on the Commander-in-Chief, whose apathy 
seems to have blinded him to them, and on the officials at home and abroad 
whose blundering carelessness worked such horrors. The country seems to me 
to have suffered still greater humiliation from the conduct of its rulers, in their 
endeavour to evade enquiry and shield the true culprits. 

This nation has paid a fearful penalty in " life " for the mis-management of 
the war. When the pressure of the cost in " means " is fully felt, I hope the 



PREFACE. VU 

spirit of the land may be roused, to require at the hands of those who rule 
these matters, that for the future, the lives of our soldiers, the hard-earned 
money of the tax-payers, shall not be wantonly made over to the wasteful 
expenditure of men ; who neither in the Cabinet, the field, or in any one 
department, have proved that tliey possess either administrative power, or 
conmion sense habits of business. 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 



CHAPTEE I. 

It is my intention in the following pages, to give a fair and intelligible account 
of those scenes connected with the present war, which came under my own 
observation, in a six weeks residence at Constantinople. I had for some time read, 
with equal astonishment and indignation, the published accounts of the condition 
of the Hospitals at Scutari, when it was suggested to me, to undertake the post 
of Almoner to the Times Fund ; this I felt I could only do on conditions which 
it would have been improper for those entrusted with that fund to have accepted ; 
it would not have been right for them to delegate the responsibility to any one who 
would not undertake it " as a matter of business " ; this, and other disqualifications 
on my own part, 1 took care to set before them ; and the gentleman was appointed 
to the post, who has so ably filled it. 

Having now however determined to go on my own account, I communicated with 
the Earl of Clarendon and had also an interview with my friend Mr. Sidney Herbert, 
and from them received all the forms of introduction T required to authorities on 
my way, at Constantinople, and the Crimea. Within twenty-four hours from the 
time I made up my mind on the sultject, I started with my Son for Constantinople, 
travelling day and night to Vienna, resting there two days, and thence via Trieste 
for my ultimate destination. At this date it may appear strange, but so it was. 



2 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

lliat Lord Westmorland then assured me, it was more than probahlo 1 should at 
Corfu, if not at Trieste, hear of the fall of Sebastopol ; at the Piraeus, I did hear 
of "Balaklava" and the disastrous charge of Cavalry. 

I arrived at Constantinople on the Eighth of November ; on that or tlie 
following day we heard of the battle of Inkermann, a transport ship having arrived 
with a large number of the wounded. The same day that I arrived, I crossed the 
Bosphorus to Scutari, and went to the General Hospital ; and there presented a 
letter from Mr. Herbert to the Superior Medical Officer Dr. Menzies ; he took me 
round some of the wards of that building, and to my repeated offers, either from 
my own, or other funds, of assistance in any way in which if could be afforded, 
I received the answer " they had everything — nothing was wanted " : here 1 am 
bound to say, he echoed the words of the Authorities in England ; indeed, I know 
from the best possible authority, that the Minister for Foreign affairs at home had 
given full power to Lord Rcdcliffe, to obtain anything on the spot for the comfort 
of the sick and wounded, that money could purcliase. I heard Lord Iledcliffe 
state the same fact in a ward of the hospital to one of the chief Medical Officers, 
and that too at the very time, when the necessarij stores, as well as those accessory 
in the shape of Medical comforts, were being afforded to Miss Nightingale from 
the Times fund. He put the question to me — "of what nature were the articles 
Mr. Macdonald (the Times commissioner) and myself, were supplying for the 
Hospital use ;" I replied, whatever Miss Nightingale, who I knew had come out 
under the sanction of the ^Var Office, asked for, we at once procured for lier, and 
that the list was one, comprising a very great variety of positive necessaries. 

I ought to state here, that Mr. Macdonald, who liad arrived the day before me, 
presented me with a kind note of introduction from the Editor of the Times, 
inviting me to act by suggestion or otherwise with him and his mission, this I did 
in every way in my power, so long as I was in the East. 

I was not for one moment deceived by the declaration of Dr. Menzies that 
nothing was warited ; I have had, as my friends all know, for many years an 
intimate acquaintance with most matters relating to Medical and Surgical practice; 
I think I can say with truth, I have followed the study of Medicine and Surgery 
for twenty years of my life, with an attention equal to that of many, who do so 
as a matter of professional dutj' — a hospital and its icquirements were no new 
thing to me. 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. O 

From the General Hospital I went to the Barrack Hospital, and gave my letters 
of introduction to the Chaplain Mr. Sabine, from whom then and to the last, I 
received everj' kind attention, and all possible aid it was proper for him to afford 
me. I undertook at once a share of the duties of Chaplain in that building ; as there 
were onlv two Chaplains for all the hospital duty, i.e., for two very large buildings, 
and at least one hulk in the Bosphorus. I now made my way to the " Sisters' 
Quarters" and introduced myself to Miss Nightingale, who had then arrived 
about two days. I walked a few of the wards, and at once saw much, symptomatic 
of that state of things, the real extent of which, I had yet to fully learn. 

It wouUl only tire the general reader, if I were to go, day by day, into the occur- 
rences which, following in quick succession, soon proved to me, not only tiiat these 
vast hospitals were absolutely without the commonest provision for the exigencies 
they had to meet ; but that there was in and about the whole sphere of action an 
utter want of tliat accord amongst the Authorities in each Department, which alone 
could secure any really vigorous effort to meet the demands, which the carrying on of 
the war was sure to make upon them. It is quite true, that as ship after ship brought 
down their respective cargoes of wounded and sick, the Medical and other Officers, 
with Miss Nightingale and her corps of nurses, did work from morning till night and 
tiirough the night, in trying to meet the pressure upon their scanty resources ; but 
tlie whole thing was a mere matter of excited, almost phrenzied energy, for where 
so much that was necessary was absent, it followed, that all that zeal and labour 
could effect, was, by various temporal y expedients, to do that, which when done 
was wholly inadequate to what was really required. 

I saw all the Balaklava and Inkermann wounded had to go through ; I had it 
from the lips of the chief actors in the scene, what the preparations were, which 
awaited the wounded of " Alma". I know what the Chaplain and Officers had to 
do then : the " Sisters" had not arrived — there was no Miss Nightingale with that 
wonderful power to command help, and quickness to see where it would most avail — 
I can say with truth, I am glad I have not that tale to tell. And yet, I could not 
find that anything had been asked from Lord RedclifFe, even up to the time I saw 
the hospitals myself— why should he have been asked for help, the Chief Authority 
was clearly under the delusion, " That nothing was wanted ! " 

I have no wish in these pages to go into ill the details of the scenes my own eyes 



4 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

witnessed in the Hospitals at Scutari ; they are now for the most part known far and 
wide from other sources. But I must at once say, they did not admit of exaggera- 
tion. I have never seen any accounts yet, that have in their united information, 
really given the whole truth as it might be given. I cannot conceive, as I now calmly 
look back on the first three weeks after the arrival of the wounded from Inkermann, 
how it could have been possible to have avoided a state of things too disastrous to 
contemplate, had not Miss Nightingale been there, and had the means placed at 
her disposal by Mr. Macdonald. I could enumerate through a very long 
list, article after article of absolute necessity, as a part of Hospital stores, 
which was either not in existence, or so stored as to defy access to it. It was not 
merely, that with the exception of a ward here and there, there was no appearance 
of the order which one would have expected in a Military Hospital, supported at an 
almost fabulous expense ; but, there was an utter absence of the commonest pre- 
paration, to carry out the very first and simplest demands in a place set apart to 
receive the sick and wounded of a large army. 

On paper, some of us possessed lists of stores sent from home, to an amount, 
that would seem to have more than provided for all probable demand ; and yet, 
Mr. Macdonald and myself had to purchase, how we could, by means of our 
voluntary Fund, the commonest articles of consumption, the commonest matters 
for daily use. For some weeks, more than a thousand patients had no bedsteads ; 
matting on the pavement of the corridor, received the one chaff stuffed bed, on 
which each man was laid. There were when I left iron bedsteads in some of the 
wards at the General Hospital, but as the rule, the men were on boards placed on 
wooden trestles ; and there were not enough of these. 

For many weeks, laundry — there was none ; after some weeks one was hired by 
Mr. Macdonald and made over to Miss Nightingale ; I have yet to learn that there 
is any real provision for washing the linen of the establishments ; so was it with 
cooking — dispensing — every department ; if the whole truth should ever appear, 
England will learn, what it is to trust, to " Departments " to secure the proper 
management of such hospitals as these in the rear of an army. 

I here deliberately record my conviction, that not only was the Home Govern- 
ment grossly deceived, by the information it received from the East ; but that it 
must have been most grossly betrayed at home, by those, to whose several depart- 



SCUIARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 5 

ments, the proper management of the details of these Hospitals was entrusted. 
The medical men I believe did their best, but from what I saw I am satisfied, that 
Military etiquette, rule, and general provision, are just the very worst, to secure the 
economical, humane, and proper management of large Hospital Establishments. 
Miss Nightingale or any well educated lady with even less attainments than hers 
for the particular path of duty, with a proper chosen and paid staff of professi- 
onal nurses, laundry women, and a civil superintendant with full power ; a staff of 
experienced civil surgeons and dressers ; an apothecary in chief with his staff of 
dispensers ; would, with the aid of necessary stores sent straight to Scutari by 
ships taken up for the special duty, have had these fine buildings soon turned 
into real Hospitals. Order would have reigned — there would yet have been room 
for much voluntary aid, but nothing essential would have been left dependent upon 
it. It would be necessary perhaps to have some two or three Military Surgeons 
from the Army, to hold " Boards" decisive of such questions, as when Officers or 
Men could return to duty, or should be sent home ; and also a few soldiers with a 
superior non-commissioned officer, to act as guard. With these exceptions, I am 
quite satisfied, that for such Hospitals as these at Scutari, to be properly manag- 
ed, they should be placed under the management and control of civilians ; there 
are obvious reasons, why camp Hospitals, I mean those with the army, should on 
the other hand be wholly of a military character. 



6 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 



CHAPTEE II. 



I now propose to give some account of the Buildings used as Hospitals at 
Scutari. And here I would refer the reader to the engraving of the Burial Ground 
of the Officers and Men, dying at this sad scene of war's work. The building close 
to the burying ground, is the General Hospital ; the large building in the distance 
is the Barrack Hospital. The former covers a considerable area of ground, and 
encloses what I presume has been a sort of pleasure garden with a fountain in the 
centre. It consists of several floors, the construction of which is generally the 
same — a passage broad enough to admit of room to pass easily at the foot of beds 
arranged down one side, out of this passage or corridor as it was called, doors open 
into large rooms or wards. In botli these buildings a portion is set apart as the 
Sultan's or imperial quarter, in which the rooms or wards with the staircases, are 
of a more costly construction than those of the rest of the building. The passages 
are thickly occupied by the beds containing the wounded and sick soldiers ; tlie 
wards out of them, are generally made over to Officers of the Staff, for dispensaries 
or other offices, and a certain number are kept for sick or wounded Officers. The 
passages and rooms are sufficiently lofty ; the former I can hardly suppose wei'e 
ever meant to be occupied, but simply to act as ways of approach to the latter, 
the filling both with wounded and sick of course drew unfairly on the ventilation 
of the building, and it was therefore no matter of surprise that at times, the atmos- 
phere was most offensive. 

The Barrack Hospital is about half a mile from the one first described. It is an 
immense building of a very similar construction, its form square, enclosing a very 
large open court or parade ground. Some weeks before it was as full even as 
when I left it, there was by measurement two miles and one third of a mile occupied 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 7 

l)y beds in this Hospital, at an average interval between each of about tv^'O feet six 
inches. The corridors are of an immense length; on entering at one of the sides of 
the building and passing down one of them, you would have to turn one, some- 
times two of its angles, before you could find any means of exit. 

As in the General Hospital, so here, there are wards the whole length of the 
building, varying in size and construction, but all opening into these passages. 
These wards however are very many of them occupied by sick or wounded soldiers ; 
whilst a certain number are reserved for the Staff of the Establishment, wounded 
or sick officers, the Chaplains, and last but not least in importance, the "Sisters" 
and " Nurses" under Miss Nightingale. 

When I left on the 19th of December, the passages were nearly all in full occupa- 
tion, and had*a double row of beds, leaving just space for one person to pass conve- 
niently between them ; besides these vast lanes of wounded and sick, there were 
large wards as closely packed with beds. At this moment January the 27th, I 
believe every part of available space is occupied in the same way. I am not sur- 
prised at the increasing mortality, from what I saw, I felt satisfied that the chances 
of recovery in such an atmosphere were indeed faint. 

The nearest entrance to the Barrack Hospital is something short of a quarter of 
a mile from the so called pier, at which all the sick and wounded have to be landed. 
Passing from under an archway, you go down a broad paved road, which leads yon 
to a very steep rough causeway, at the base of which, after going on a few yards to 
the left, you arrive at the pier. It is difficult to conceive a landing place for all pas- 
sengers from the European side of the Bosphorus, — for the stores arriving for the 
hospitals, — for the sick and wounded, in short for everything animate and inanimate 
seeking a way to the establishment, so utterly inconvenient, and inadequate for the 
purpose. If the wind blew at all hard from the Marmora or the Seraglio Point, 
there was a surf that made landing next to impossible ; in the ordinary breezes 
that blew from these quarters, and they were very frequent, the approach in any- 
thing but a large boat was dangerous, and the general confusion, from the difficulty 
of landing men and goods, very great. 

I have seen the bodies of the dead, stores for the living, munitions of war, sick 
men staggering from weakness, wounded men helpless on stretchers, invalid order- 
lies waiting to act as bearers, oxen yolked in arabas. Officials stiff in uniform and 



8 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

authority, all in one dense crowd, on this narrow inconvenient pier, exposed to 
drenching rain, and so bewildered by the utter confusion natural and artificial of the 
scene, that the transaction of any one duty, was quite out of the question. 

The only boat that belonged to the Establishment was a large six oared cfiique 
good in ordinarily bad weather, for crossing the Bosphorus, but for any of the real 
requirements of the service, of little if any use. There was not to my knowledge 
one boat, at the entire command of the hospital authorities, in which it was pos- 
sible to land sick from a ship ; nor were there any means for some considerable time 
of getting to this pier from the European side, except by having a ciMque; and on 
very many days, it will happen, no cfiique can cross with safety. 

There is another pier nearer the General Hospital ; in fine weather it was a great 
saving of time and of suffering to the sick going to that building, when we could 
have them landed there. It was a full quarter of a mile however for the bearers to 
walk, and up hill all the way ; but the ascent is not so steep here, as that from the 
other pier to the Barrack Hospital. 

We none of us know to what a pitch of apparent insensibility we can arrive by 
great familiarity with suffering ; the more extensive the view of the misery before 
us, the greater amount of suffering it exposes, strange to say, the sooner does the 
mind cease to shrink from it. One wounded man borne on a stretcher, in the street 
of a town, attracts universal attention, and excites a painful sympathy from any 
beholder. At Scutari, the dead were so often encountered, carried in boats, lying 
on the pier, or borne in long processions on stretchers, that they ceased to attract 
any but a moment's notice, and did not e\en for a moment, excite any particular 
emotion ; they were generally sewn up in their blankets, with sufficient care to pre- 
vent any part of the body being exposed to view, but I have frequently seen bodies 
in tronsUii from the transport ships or hulks, so carelessly shrouded as to create a 
feeling of disgust. 

The sufferings and tlic condition of the living sick and wounded were such how- 
ever, as to make anything which regarded the dead, a matter of little interest. 
Here too it was strange, how quickly all one's home feelings became blunted. At 
fnst, though accustomed to study every form of suffering, and no stranger to the 
usual scenes of a hospital, I was inexpressibly shocked, at the scene around me in 
my daily visits to these hospitals. I had passed weeks in the West of Ireland when 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 9 

famine was slaying its hundreds daily, and where the whole peasant population, 
bore the impress of that scourge ; I had seen a good deal of cholera on a large scale ; 
but these were scenes in which the mysterious hand of providence seemed in the 
judgment, to shadow forth something of a good yet to come out of it. But war's 
work, is altogether an accursed work. 

I can understand at the camp, in the presence of the enemy, the glory the 
soldier seeks veiling the full effect of the result of the violence by which he is led 
on to obtain it. It is easy to conceive the horror of the battlefield ; but there, the 
deeds of heroism, the wondrous courage it elicits, the greatness of the stake at 
issue, the excitement under which men fall and die, or not dying at once, are 
tended by men, then and there, as excited as themselves; all this draws a broad 
line, between the actual suffering and the picture of it a battlefield affords, and 
that which is afforded in the crowded wards of the hospital, at some distance from 
the scene of action. 

The grouping of fallen men and horses ; the many heaped up masses of dead 
moved strangely by the living maimed amongst them, shewing the points where 
the deadly strife had been the most severe ; the commingling of uniforms of friends 
and foes, as both lie scattered on the ground on which they fell ; the groups 
surrounding this and that individual sufferer, hearing his last words, givino- to him 
the last drops of water which \\ill ever moisten his lips upon earth. The stretchers 
borne from various points, each carrying some officer or private soldier, who now 
has the startling feeling forced upon him — "it has come to this — and yet there 
may be hope of life"; his excited but overworn spirit, half fainting as it is, yet 
dreaming a mixed feverish dream of the charge in which be met his wound, and 
the thoughts of home that flashed upon the heart, as it seemed to commit that 
heart to a moments oblivion of all else. Then comes the first dawn of the hope 
that life may be spared ; the view of horrid objects passed, seen with a dimned 
eye— hope of life growing stronger, but with it nov/ the dread of some operation 
to be undergone— the sound of guns still heard, begetting a feverish impatient 
desire, to know the result of the battle. Again, a partial waking up at the voice 
of the surgeon ; he and his attendants seen as through a mist; the deafened feelings 
of utter weakness causing all to seem as though they spoke in whispers ; the still 
further rousing of the mind as the cordial administered, begins to take effect ; the 



10 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

voice of a comrade or friend lying close by, himself wounded yet speaking to cheer ; 
the operation borne bravely and felt the less, as it gives promise of a life just now 
seemingly lost to hope ; through it all fresh news ever arriving from amidst the din 
of the strife still raging — all this has a life and motion and spirit in it, which mocks 
the real grave horror of the scene. 

Even when the battle is over and every gun silenced, when that moment arrives 
in which the survivors and the unhurt can breathe more freely, and begin with 
some coolness to regard the scene and count the loss, there is yet a strange 
fascinating power in the very atmosphere which hangs about the battlefield, every- 
thing exists and abounds which can horrify, nothing is wanting to complete that 
awful picture war paints in blood and violence upon the spot, to be repainted in 
woe and tears at thousands of distant homes ; nevertheless the most feeling and 
brave will admit, it is wonderful how little the odious sights around them, really 
affect the mind. It is war — just that and nothing else — they are servants of war, 
and all that is before them, was in the plain path of that duty, which nothing can be 
suffered to daunt in action, or to bend to more than a soldiers tearless grief 
after it. 

Pits must now be dug for the dead ; comrade goes forth on that deathstrewn 
ground, to seek for comrade ; there are those who go relentless to spoil the enemy, 
and yet ever ready to pause and say kind words over the corpse of some 
late mess-fellow. Horses lie about, some dead and stiff, others lift and turn their 
heads about, until they die ; a soldier will be seen to approach one of these^ speaking 
kindly to it, he takes tlie bridle in one hand, with the other lifts the revolver to 
the poor creature's head, and at once it falls, released from all pain, adding one 
more picture to the map of war's hideous detail. 

There is the hospital tent, to which the unwounded go to gather tidings of ' 
iriends they knew to have fallen ; some are on stretchers, having undergone 
operations, and now about to be carried to the hospital ; others still lie where life 
left them under the means used to save it ; there are too, the tents in which the 
bodies of the officers killed are placed ; the living stand over them, speak of them 
by the names camp life had given them, they are regretted — deeply, truly — but 
in that calm tone and manner which war soon makes habitual. 

Survivors at their first meal after the action, are still just the soldiers they were ; 
it has not yet been their lot to feel the agonizing wound, or the faint sickening 




;^w-' 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 11 

feeling of the heart, as then it expects to grapple with death. Glorjr has been 
won by the Army, and every heart glows with the proud sense of his own share in 
it. The gaps in the regiment speak of its brave charge of those but too powerful 
columns, into the solid mass of which it dug its way, at the same time knowing, 
there it must dig too, the graves of perhaps more than half its strength ; the survi- 
vors feel, and justly, that out of all that days whirl of fearful exciting action, they 
have reaped for themselves that which will win honour for their country ; that 
which as it is read in the home circle, will throw into the mother's or wife's thanks- 
giving, a fervency not owing alone to the fact that they are spared, but that being 
so it has been through such a scene of trial of all that can assail even the courage of 
the British soldier, that they are, and will ever be of the number of those who live 
as heroes, in their nations history. 

Let us leave the camp and field where war with cunning hand so skilfully veils 
from the actors the true nature of its work, and go to regard the Hospital where 
nothing can be hidden of this world's curse. 



12 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 



CHAPTER III. 



It is indeed a most difficult task, to bring befoi'e my readers, anything like a true 
picture of the wards and corridors of the Hosyjitals at Scutari, as they were, when 
first I became familiar with them. The particular portion of the Barrack Hospital 
of which I agreed for a time to take pastoral charge, was certainly well adapted to 
give me a thorough insight into some of the most striking features of this vast field 
of suffering, aud misery. My daily walk to it was thro ugh long corridors, both sides 
of which, were thickly lined with the sick and wounded ; one of these, was inter- 
sected by a wooden partition with a door ; it divided a portion of a corridor in which 
there were no patients, from a part which was full of them. There were wards 
opening into this empty corridor, and in some of these, I soon found my chief oc- 
cupation ; the first of them was used as a dead house ; here each day were collected 
all who died in this hospital ; they were then conveyed to the freneral Hospital, to 
be added to the number of dead there ; every afternoon when the weather would 
permit, the funerals took place in the ground adjoining. 

About two o'clock in the day, a certain number of orderlies, invalids barely equal 
to the duty, would be seen following each other from this " dead house", bearing 
on stretchers one corpse after another each sewn up in a blanket ; so accustomed 
weie all to this sight, that I have often seen this procession of the dead, which had 
to pass down a part of a thickly inhabited corridor go by, without even interrupt- 
ing for one moment, the conversation of the sick and wounded with each other, or 
arresting the attention cf any, who might be reading aloud or being read to. 
Beyond this ward were those known as the Dysentery or Cholera wards ; very 
wretched places they were, and glad was I when after repeated protests, the 
patients were removed to another portion of the building, where they could lie in 
a condition approaching to decency. 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 13 

Where the field for ministerial labour was so altogether out of any proportion, 
to any provision made at that time to meet it, I felt as far as regarded myself, 
my wisest course was, to devote myself to those, whose cases were for the most 
part not only apparently hopeless, but whose end was probably near. I therefore 
made friends of some of the orderlies (every ward has one), and got them, and also 
the Sisters in charge of my district, to give me when I met them, intimation of 
such cases : this brought me a good deal into these wretched dysentery and fever 
wards, and many a sad scene did I witness there. 

This dysentery — diarrhoea — Varna fever, the men called it by all these names, 
was most fatal ; I visited very few who recovered, indeed there was an appearance 
in by far the greater part of them, that seemed to exclude all hope of recovery. 
It appeared to have a most depressing effect ; there was not much active pain, 
except in the cases which now and then a few hours before death, took a form very 
similar to, if not identical with cholera. The patients lay either on the floor, or 
on the wooden divans which surroimded some of the wards. The boards under the 
thin chaff beds on which they lay, were rotten, and I have seen them ahve with 
vermin and saturated with everything offensive ; the orderlies told me, they could 
not be kept clean ; I was also informed by one of the chief authorities, that if these 
wards were washed, so rotten were the boards, tlipy never could be got dry. The 
bed clothing was in character with the place. 

In these foul places, surrounded with everything which could offend every sense, 
I was often a witness to scenes, which for the time made me forget all in and about 
the sufferers, but their patience, their modest bearing, their evident deep gratitude 
for every the least act of kindness shewn to them. There is a very marked differ- 
ence between these diarrhoea patients, and the bimply wounded; the latter Hve in 
hope ; even those most wounded, with difficulty gave it up. The attendance 
necessarily given to their wounds by the surgeons, kept up this feeling, until, if 
the wound was fatal the very moment the last struggle came. I do not say that 
the old Varna fever cases could have profited fi'om medicine, and medical atten- 
dance ; I certainly never saw much bestowed upon them ; I do firmly believe 
however that much might have been done for many of the diarrhoea cases, but I 
know at one time, the Medical men had not at their disposal, the commonest drugs 
proper for their treatment. With the exception of the Priests in attendance on 



14 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

the Catholic patients, and "the sisters" ministering to all, I seldom met any one in 
these wards, whilst I continued to visit them. 

In this cruel scene of filthy neglect, I can with truth say, I was never called to 
one dying man who uttered a single murmur, against those who thus treated him 
and his comrades; they were fond of being read to, joined earnestly in prayer, 
were apparently very truthful in their answers as to their past lives ; (very many 
had run away from home, and enlisted under false names) kw had I occasion to 
attend when dying, who did not shew the truest penitence, and gladly seek to cling 
to those hopes, most of them had been taught in their youth, but which alas ! in 
many of their cases had now first to be realized. 

It has been my lot in life to minister at the death beds of many who I have seen 
die surrounded with everything money could obtain, and affectionate kindness 
suggest, to make less painful the severe trial of that moment. It has been my 
privilege to see what at such a time a true Christian faith can do to console and 
support ; I saw men, after years spent in their country's service, now far from 
the land of those they loved, worn out by the privations of war, endured too, 
under all the aggravations of pestilence and neglect ; lying on the clothes, they 
had not changed for months, in wards presenting every feature to depress and to 
annoy, but made more depressing and distressing by the dreadful death-scenes of 
each day and night ; yet, listening with every symptom of grateful delight to the 
invitations — the promises of Him, who left his home in heaven to contend to death, 
for every penitent who would trust his soul to Him. 

They dictated calmly the plain unboasting tale they wished written to the 
parent, wife, or other relative at home; it told of suffering, without any complaint 
of it ; it expressed the still strong affection they bore for those — this was the real 
pang — who they wished to know, that they never could see them again ; there 
was just the foct of the cause of their sickness, and then the homely expressed 
message of remembrance to " all at home, all enquiring friends." 

There was little else I could ever do for them — they said so, and gave a grateful 
pressure to the extended hand, (in one instance a fine dying fellow kissed it) then 
— the " God bless you. Sir." There was in some cases one means of calling up 
a look of earnest pleasure ; it was when they were enabled from private funds at 
my disposal, to send home small sums to their relatives ; this seemed to come 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 15 

home to their very hearts, and gave more pleasure, than any of the other means, 
by which I endeavoured to lighten the sad portion of this particular class of the 
Sick. 

The duties I undertook were sometimes in strange contrast with each other ; on 
one Sunday I gave a service at the Hotel at Pera on the landing place ; my con- 
gregation consisting of the Duke of Cambridge, some of his staff, eight or ten 
officers, a few servants and the huidlady : on the very next Sunday I went to the 
Cholera Ward at Scutari ; I found in it, a corporal of the Rifles with the cholera, 
a servant of my friend Colonel Walkers just recovering from it, I had seen him in 
its worst stage a day or two before ; a man just taken with it, another dehrious, 
another in the last stage of fever ; sitting on the dirty divan by the side of the 
corporal — they were all on the floor — I had so to speak to, and read, and pray 
with him, as to make the service one, that would do for all who could attend ; this, 
the writing a letter for the one in fever, and a word or two to each of those in a 
condition to understand me, was my that day's morning service. Within forty- 
eight hours I believe, three of my congregation were in the next ward, the dead 
house. 

I was truly glad to hear a few days after this, that these dysentery wards were 
cleared out, the patients being put into others until one prepared expressly for 
them was ready ; but the reader may conceive my astonishment on going to see 
the cholera ward, the day after it was thus cleared, when I found some of the 
authorities had begun to use \\.—J'or a store room for the new blankets and quilts 
just come from England : cholera may or may not be contagious, but vermin cer- 
tainly are generally considered as likely to infect all clothing left amongst them ; I of 
course at once represented it to that energetic officer Dr. McGregor, and I have 
no doubt he soon secured a bettei- disposition of the new stores. 

I determined on my first arrival, to take upon myself, with the aid of my son 
and Mr. Stafford who volunteered his services, the writing letters to their friends 
at home, for the sick and wounded men ; most gladly did they avail themselves 
of our pens ; all the letters were collected every night at my room in Pera ; my 
son and myself then stamped and forwarded them by each successive mail ; I 
should be afraid to say, how many we posted altogether ; whenever it appeared 
advisable to do so, we sent a cheque fiom our private fund on a London firm, for 



16 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

the relatives of any poor fellow, whose dying moments it was likely to cheer ; the 
sums given varying from ten shillings to two pounds. I found a most zealous 
assistant in this work in my friend Mr. Stafford ; day by day and all day, he might 
be seen with his portfolio by the side of the poor sufferers, giving many hours to 
the task. Indeed he gave himself almost entirely to it, sending me each night the 
letters he had written ; he went to the Camp in the Crimea for ten days, and 
there too he found a field for the same kind labour. 

I wish I could give the reader an idea of the appearance of the Corridors in the 
Barrack Hospital, a week after Inkermann. Looking from the angle of one of 
these extensive passages, so as to command a view right and left, there was a narrow 
path each way as far as the eye could reach, through a double line of wooden low 
trestles with planks laid upon them ; on these were the beds of the patients; here 
and there would be seen a small group of surgeons in consultation on some serious 
case ; in smaller more frequent groups, other surgeons with their attendant order- 
lies dressing wounds ; wounded Officers would sometimes come out a little way from 
their wards, and be seen talking to some of the men ; small congregations of con- 
valescent officers and others, would occasionally pass out of one of the side 
wards — the chaplain's, were they had been attending one of the frequent daily 
services. 

When it is remembered that the narrow path between the beds was tlie one 
thoroughfare of the place, it may be easily conceived, tliat there were few moments 
during the day, in which there were not many passing and repassing. This was 
a great inconvenience, but one unavoidable from the nature of the building. The 
whole surgical and other staff, all the orderlies, every officer from the wards, their 
servants, every one with business to transact with any of the above ; all had to find 
their way through the double line of patients. There was therefore not tlie slight- 
est privacy, and until night, over a great extent of the building little quiet. 

Here again it was wonderful, how in a few days one's every sense seemed to 
adapt itself to the scene ; the picture of wars work hateful as it was, was on so 
large a scale, that in its very magnitude, the greater part of the horrors of its 
details was lost. Had you taken any twenty yards of a ward, and given your 
undivided attention to all it set before you, there was scarce one sense or feeling 
which would not have been touched most deeply ; but when it came each day to 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 17 

1)6 a walk of miles of such hateful scenes, I am sorry to say one became but too 
hardened to them ; the very abuses of the place, involving such a mass, seemed 
somehow to be less hateful, than when by any chance, they came before you in 
the case of some few individuals. 

How strange it is to know, that all this vast collection of our emaciated and 
maimed fellow creatures, had been brought to this condition as it were of deliberate 
purpose ; that possible exposure to pestilence and privation had been a part of a 
deliberate compact, with those so many of whom it was to thus destroy ; that 
these masses of men on whom the sabre, the rifle, the shell, the bayonet had 
worked such mutilation, had been trained, to do just that same work on others, 
and had bravely done it. 

Here was a noble looking fellow, with a leg amputated far above the knee, next 
him, one with his shirt off, having more than twelve bayonet wounds dressed ; 
another had received a wound that actually had so laid bare a part of the lungs, 
that it was possible to see their action ; poor fellow, I passed him in the hour of 
his release and covered his face from the flies. There was scarce a conceivable 
mutilation of the human frame, which might not be readily found in these corri- 
dors; where the bed was not occupied by one of these poor maimed men, the 
probability was that you had to regard one of the almost countless cases of 
diarrhoea ; which had had their origin principally, not from any necessary part 
of war's demand upon the soldier, nor from the unavoidable action of a hostile 
climate, but, from the gross neglect of those, who having the management of the 
campaign, had recklessly exposed the army to privations and to disease, which 
with common foresight, with a little activity, might have been to a great degree 
avoided. The effect of this disease upon the patient was very painful, it seemed 
to weigh down every energy of the mind, as it day by day weakened every physical 
power. The poor fellows lay in their beds mere spectres ; except to dictate a 
letter home, it was difficult to rouse them to anything. They were grateful for 
the nice messes "the vSisters" cooked for them, took what little medicine was ever 
oifered them, but all was done in a state of apathy, which shewed life had become 
a very weariness. When the newspapers arrived and were distributed, it was dis- 
tressing to watch the interest with which all the wounded listened to and read 
"Alma" again and again, whilst the diarrhoea patients seemed scarcely willing 



IS SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

to turn in their beds, to listen to a word of that, which so interested their 
wounded comrades. 

It was most interesting to see the avidity with which newspapers from England 
were received ; many of the soldiers read aloud remarkably well. I have seen a 
black whiskered fine looking man, propped up in bed, chosen as a reader ; having 
lost an arm, they had folded the paper for him, so that he could, holding it 
in one hand, get at the "battle bit"; cripples of all kinds crept up, and sat on 
and about the adjoining beds ; as far as his voice could be heard (it was a loud 
Irish one) you might see men turned in their beds, trying to drink in every word ; 
on he went, right through the whole, beginning in rather a monotone style, hts 
soon warmed up, and as the men said — " gave it out well." Then there would be 
a hail fi'om a distant bed — "I say let us have it up here now," and some crippled 
patient would come scrambling down to beg the paper ; a new reader would be 
found and nearly the same scene again and again repeated. I heard a shrewd 
observation from one veteran who having read the battle in a " daily," then looked 
at a picture of it in a "weekly." " The writing. Sir, is more like a picture, than 
the picture is like the battle ; why. Sir, these painters seem to think all our horses 
are fit for brewers ; and that gunpowder makes no smoke." Newspapers seemed 
perfect medicine to the wounded, acting as cordials ; they brought up again all the 
excitement of the field, without its danger, but with its gloiy. 

It was satisfactory to observe, how many men could read well. Books to be 
used much by them should be of small size, they cannot hold up large books, and 
the wretched apology for beds on which they he, made sitting upright very diflScult. 
I am happy to say I saw very many, who after the excitement natural to the 
reading the newspaper, turned again to the little testament, a tract, or instructive 
book which had been lent them. One surgeon asked me for some Bibles for his 
ward, 1 gave him five pounds worth, and heard from him, how much he found 
them valued ; these were given to the men ; I purchased them from the Agent of 
the Bible Society at Stamboul. 

For many weeks, a great number of the sick and wounded lay on the stone or 
tiled floors of some of the corridors ; only matting between the bed and this tiled 
porous sui'face, which could not be kept clean. Although it was known these 
buildings would be reserved as hospitals, when the army left Scutari, no one 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 19 

seemed to have dreamed of making any of the commonest preparations, to adapt 
them to this pm-pose. The consequence was, that to the moment I left, nearly 
six weeks after the Inkermann wounded began to arrive, there was not only an 
utter absence of anything hke the order of a good hospital, but some of its most 
simple machinery did not exist. The cooking depart ments for 3,500 men would 
have disgraced the management of an English workhouse. Means of securing the 
washing of their hnen, there was next to none at all; Mr. Macdonald had, it is true, 
hired a house at Scutari, and taken steps to make it over as a laundry to be under 
the " sisters " ; with the exception of this, the washing done, did not I believe 
amount to one hundred articles a week. I used to see the meat brought up for 
the men's dinners ; it was not only served out in a way perfectly disgraceful, but 
at times I have seen it so raw, they could not eat it. As to punctuality in servino- 
it that was out of the question. 

For some weeks, there were many men lying in bed, with dysentery or with 
open sores, who had not had a change of linen for months. The shirts we gave 
away, as they could not be washed, soon got into a condition disgusting to see. 
The men knowing their linen would be ordered away from them, and that as 
there was no laundry, they would never see it again ; when it was too bad to wear, 
used to hide it under their beds. I have given new shirts myself to men lying with- 
out them, but who had their own old shirts thus hidden. Is it any wonder that 
the smell in the wards was at times so offensive as to be scarcely endurable even 
to the oldest Medical Officers. Such articles even as basins to wash the wounded 
from, towels, cups for drinking out of, had to be provided from the Times Fund, 
to say nothing of linen and flannel. By far the greater proportion of the bedsteads 
were constructed, long after the Hospitals were a great deal too full. 

There was not, a few days before I left, a single operating table ; I have seen a 
capital operation performed in a ward, amongst the other patients, on a door or 
something like it, laid on two trestles ; so inconvenient was this, that for some 
considerable portion of the time occupied, the poor creature was supported by my 
own arm passed underneath his loins, a Surgeon on the other side holding my 
wrist, that we might bear him up. On another occasion, two light tables were 
used, so unsteady were they, I had to make an orderly sit behind the patient on 
one, to keep it firm ; both these men had the thigh amputated, were taken from 



20 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

the so-called operating table, and put back upon their beds upon the floor, where 
they soon died. Chloroform was always used, and it appeared to nie with the 
greatest success ; which I attribute a good deal, to the practice of using it on a 
handkerchief held hghtly to the face, instead of the plan I have seen elsewhere of 
using some instrument, which whilst it secured the inhalation of the anaesthetic, ex- 
cluded too much of the atmospheric air. I assisted at one very painful case, in which 
a branch of the femoral artery had to be taken up ; there were great difficulties about 
it, so much so, that one of the best Surgeons there, did not seem to me, to like 
to attempt it ; it was however done by Dr. Mc'Ilray assisted by some others ; I am 
afraid to say the length of time the patient was under the influence of chloroform ; 
his head was on my own knee the greater part of the time, and I bad to keep up 
the administration of this inestimable agent ; at last they succeeded in getting a 
ligature round the vessel; I was then left with one of the Surgeons, to tiy and 
recover him from the torpor, under which he had, without pain, borne a most 
severe application of the knife &c. Our only hope, from the quantity of blood he 
had lost, was, to get some stimulant taken as soon as we could ; in vain we tried 
every means of rousing him ; the pulsation of the heart was so weak, his whole 
appearance such, I had begun to despair. As a last resort, I found out his name, 
and had him sharply spoken to by it, so strong was the force of habit, that he 
made just sufficient effort to waken, to enable us to order him to drink the wine 
we gave him, keeping up the same sharp military tone of voice, we got more and 
more swallowed, and he soon recovered; I saw him some days after doing well. 

As far as I am any judge, the operations were well performed ; but they were for 
by far the most part in the end unsuccessful. The men were so debilitated, that 
nature could spare no vital force to repair extensive wounds, and they soon sank. 
It is my own opinion, that the excitement of an action with the enemy, has in its 
reaction, that which in a few days tells heavily on very many constitutions. I am 
sure I saw more than one death, I could safely attribute to this cause ; the brain 
seemed to have been so over-strained, that a kind of low fever was induced, from which 
there was often no recovery, and this, where there was no wound or dysentery. 
From what I saw, I can hardly conceive a greater blessing to suffering man, than 
this wonderful system of painless operation ; I am satisfied, that in the case of the 
majority of those operated on at Scutari, the old "healthy bellowing action" as it 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 21 

is called, would have soon put an end to the patient ; they had not the strength to 
rally under the pressure upon them, of natures ordinary attempts at reparation; a 
very little "bellowing," the very touch of the knife would have soon quenched the 
feeble spark of their wasted life. 

One particular part of the Barrack Hospital, was given up to the Russian sick 
prisoners. Here I feel even more ashamed of the truths I must write, than of any- 
thing the reader has yet read. The condition in whicli they were allowed to 
remain, was most disgraceful. It was represented to me first through Dr. Alibert, 
one of them— a Pole I believe ; he seemed a well educated intelligent man ; I was 
with one of the Chaplains, when he came literally to beg of us a Httle wine and some 
jelly for some of his patients ; his description of his own and their treatment was 
heartrending. I took care he had at once from a private source what he wanted. 
Some little time after, an English civil surgeon who had come out with the highest 
testimonials, was put in charge of the " Russian Sick." He came to me one day 
bursting with indignation at the condition they were in ; no one seemed to 
care for them, from no one could he get anything for them. I that day gave an 
order to Stampa at Pera, to send him all he asked ; I fortunately had funds at my 
own private command from which I could do it. I now took steps, to get at the 
real truth of how these poor creatures had been treated ; I will spare the reader 
the details, suffice it to say, that from all I learned, this ward was witness to more 
gross neglect of one's sick and wounded fellow creatures, than any portion 
of any of the hospitals, witli which I ever became acquainted. 

The following one fact to which I defy contradiction, shall speak for all the rest ; 
Dr. Smith the gentleman in charge of some of the wounded Russian officers, 
shewed me one poor fellow, witli a thigh-bone broken ; it was in a fearful state, 
the pain most distressing ; in vain had Dr. Smith tried to obtain in the hospital a 
splint proper for such a case, by which the muscles might have been relaxed, and 
thus much suffering have been saved ; a surgical implement common in every 
hospital, and used by every union surgeon. It is said otilij two existed in the whole 
establisJiment. I went with a friend, now in England, to two instrument shops at 
Pera, but could not succeed in getting one. Had the poor fellow lived but a little 
longer, it was my intention to have borrowed one from the French hospital. Dr. 
Smith is a man of independent ciiaracter, and in a position to speak out, v/ith no 



22 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

danger to his prospects in life. I hope when he returns to England he will give 
the pubhc his experience, of the provision made for the sick and wounded by the 
department in England, which presides over their treatment, in the Military hos- 
pitals abroad. 

I heard one day, that as many of these Russian sick as could be moved, were at 
once to be sent to Kululi ; I saw them being carried down to the pier for the 
purpose, on stretchers, on the shoulders of Turkish soldiers ; no one with them to 
see that they were at all protected from the insults, to which this was sure to ex- 
pose them. I at once got Mr. Maxwell, one of the Duke of Newcastle's 
commissioners, to come with me, to do what we could to secure the poor creatures 
from ill-treatment. I think he will not forget our work that afternoon ; I had in 
one instance, to take the law into my own hands, with a brutal Turkish soldier, 
one of four bearers, who had put the stretcher down on the ground, and was evi- 
dently grossly insulting the unfortunate being, who lay helpless before him. 
The boats sent to take them to the steamer were so narrow, that the few 
stretchers we could put on board, overlapped their edges. We were obliged to 
take a great many, who had only lately lost arms or legs, and who were otherwise 
maimed, off their stretchers, and huddle them in one wretched heap at the bottom 
of the boat. This too, in the middle of a mob of Turks, insulting them in every 
way ; no soul in authority, not one single officer of the establishment being there 
to protect, or see any one precaution taken, to save them from needless pain. 
Since I have been in England, I have entreated the Secretary of War to endeavour 
to secure the humane treatment of the Russian war prisoners. 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 23 



CHAPTER IV. 



I must now conduct my readers to another part of the Barrack Hospital, and 
one most interesting. On entering by the gate at the "main guard," turning 
directly to the left, at a short distance there is a wooden partition across a corridor ; 
passing through the door in this you come to one of the usual lanes hedged in by 
the beds of the wounded ; at its furthest extremity is the tower, in which the 
"sisters" have their "quarters." Whatever of neglect may attach elsewhere, 
none can be imputed here. From this tower flowed that well directed stream of 
untiring benevolence and charitable exertion, which has been deservedly the theme 
of so much praise. Here there has been no idleness, no standing still, no waiting 
for orders from home, no quibbling with any requisition made upon those, who so 
cheerfully administered the stores at their disposal. 

Entering the door leading into the " sisters " tower, you at once found yourself 
a spectator of a busy and most interesting scene. There is a large room, with two 
or three doors opening from it on one side ; on the other, one door opening into 
an apartment in which many of the Nurses and Sisters slept, and had I believe 
their meals. In the centre was a large kitchen table; bustling about this, might 

be seen the High Priestess of the room Mrs. C ; often as I have had occasion 

to pass through this room, I do not ever recollect finding her either absent from 
it, or unoccupied. 

At this table she received the various matters from the kitchen and stores of 
the Sisterhood, which attendant Sisters or Nurses were ever ready to take to 
the sick in any and every part of these gigantic hospitals. It was a curious 
scene, and a close study of it afforded a practical lesson in the working of true 
common sense benevolence. There were constant fresh arrivals of various matters 



24 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

ready either for immediate distribution, or for preparation for it ; there was also 
as frequent an arrival of requisitions for some of the many good things, over which 
R.'rs. C presided with untiring perseverance. 

The floor on one side of the room, was loaded with packages of all kinds, stores 
of things for the internal and external consumption of the patients ; bales of shirts, 
socks, slippers, dressing gowns, flannel ; heaps of every sort of article, likely to 
be of use in affording comfort and securing cleanliness. It gave one some idea of 
what such a room would be in a good hospital, if on some sudden alarm, it had 
been made a place of refuge for articles snatched from its every store. In 
reality it was one feature of a bold attempt upon the part of extraneous benevolence, 
to supply the deficiencies of the various departments, which as a matter of course 
should have supplied all these things. On the right hand side of the room, were 
doors leading to the private room of Miss Nightingale, and to the dormitories of 
the Nuns, and their Reverend Mother, a lady of whom all spoke in the highest terms. 

In the further corner on the right hand side^ was the entrance to the sitting 
room occupied by Miss Nightingale and her friends the Bracebridges. I shall ever 
recall with the liveliest satisfaction, the many visits I paid to this apartment. Here 
were held those councils over which Miss Nightingale so ably presided, at which 
were discussed the measures necessary to meet the daily varying exigencies of the 
hospitals. From hence were given the orders which regulated the female staff, 
working under this most gifted Head. This too was the office from which were 
sent those many letters to the government, to friends and supporters at home, 
which told such awful tales of the sufferings of the sick and wounded, their utter 
want of so many necessaries. Here might be seen the " Times" almoner, taking 
down in his note book from day to day, the list of things he was pressed to obtain, 
which might all with a little activity have been provided as easily by the authorities 
of the hospital. 

To attempt the narration of the business transacted in this room, would be a 
task beyond my powers. It was of a nature comprehending somewhat of the 
detail of every recognized " department ; " it embraced the consideration of every 
failure of duty on the part of "authorities" at home and on the spot; it aimed 
at the attainment of order and humanity by limited means, to be directed against 
the widest possible field of disorganization. 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 25 

Had Miss Nightingale and her Staff taken up their post in the best regulated 
hospital conceivable, with four thousand patients, their task would have taxed to 
the utmost their every energy. Here was an utter want of all regulation, it was a 
mere unseemly scramble ; the Staff was altogether deficient in strength ; the com- 
missariat and purveying department, as weak in power as in capacity ; there was 
no real Head, and there existed on all sides a state of feeling, which was inclined 
to resent all non-military interference ; whilst at the same time, it was shamefully 
obvious that there was no one feature of military order. Jealous of each other, 
jealous of every one else, with some few bright exceptions, there was little encour- 
agement from any of the officials, for any one out of mere benevolence to lend 
any aid. The fact is, the stout denial of the shameful condition of the hospitals, 
made to the authorities at home, could not be made on the spot, the officials 
therefore walked about self-convicted. As a warm friend of the government, sent 
out under the direct sanction of the War Office, I am satisfied it was the wish of 
Miss Nightingale to make the best of everything. She at once found the real 
truth, and cheerfully and gratefully availed herself of that help from irregular 
sources, which to this moment has been her chief supp ort. 

My readers will very naturally expect that I should give them some particulars 
regarding this lady. I can only give the result of my own observation and experi- 
ence ; for on such a matter, I should be sorry to draw for my information from 
other sources. Miss Nightingale in appearance, is just what you would expect 
in any other well-bred woman, who may have seen perhaps rather more than 
thirty years of hfe ; her manner and countenance are prepossessing, and this 
without the possession of positive beauty ; it is a face not easily forgotten, pleasing 
in its smile, with an eye betokening great self possession, and giving when she 
wishes, a quiet look of firm determination to every feature. Her general demean- 
our is quiet and rather reserved ; still I am much mistaken if she is not gifted with 
a very lively sense of the ridiculous. In conversation, she speaks on matters of 
business with a grave earnestness, one would not expect from her appearance. 
She has evidently a mind disciplined to restrain under the principles of the action 
of the moment, every feeling which would interfere with it. She has trained 
herself to command, and learned the value of conciliation towards others, and 
constraint over herself. I can conceive her to be a strict disciplinarian ; she throws 

D 



26 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

herself into a work — as it's Head — as such she knows well how much success must 
depend upon hteral obedience to her every order. She seems to understand 
business thoroughly, though to me she had the failure common to many " Heads," 
a too great love of management in the small details which had better perhaps have 
been left to others. Her nerve is wonderful ; I have been with her at very severe 
operations ; she was more than equal to the trial. She has an utter disregard of 
contagion ; I have known her spend hours over men dying of cholera or fever. 
The more awful to every sense any particular case, especially if it was that of a 
dying man, her slight form would be seen bending over him, administering to his 
ease in every way in her power, and seldom quitting his side till deatli released him. 
I have heard and read with indignation, the remarks hazarded upon her religious 
character. I found her myself to be in her every word and action a Christian ; I 
thought this quite enough. It would have been in my opinion the most cruel im- 
pertinence, to scrutinize her words and acts, to discover to which of the many 
bodies of true Christians she belonged. I have conversed witli her several times 
on the deaths of those, who I had visited ministerially in the hospitals, with whom 
she had been when they died. I never heard one word from her lips, that would 
not have been just what I should have expected from the hps of those who I have 
known to be the most experienced and devout of our common faith. Her work 
ought to answer for her faith ; at least none should dare to call that faith in 
question, in opposition to such work, on grounds so weak and trivial as those I 
have seen urged. That she has been equally kind and attentive to men of every 
creed ; that she would smooth the pillow and give water to a dying fellow creature 
who might own no creed, I have no doubt; all honour to her that she does feel, 
that her's is the Samaritan's — not the Pharisee's work. If there is blame in looking 
for a Roman Catholic priest to attend a dying Romanist, let me share it with her — 
I did it again and again. 

Those who walked that field of suffering, had too many pressing calls on every 
energy which could be enlisted to save pain to the body, to stop to question the 
faith of the sufferers. It was not the least frightful of the many features of that 
awful scene, that the demand for active physical help, did sadly interfere with the 
aid which would have been cheerfully given in higher matters. We all did what 
we could in both ; but this was a hospital. Miss Nightingale and her staff were 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 27 

nurses, cooks, purveyors ; they were not, they could not be, but in a very minor 
degree — missionaries. Although to the last, I myself gladly seized every oppor- 
tunity of praying with, or reading to any dying man, I was soon obliged to give 
up devoting myself to that work, for I felt that this could be done by others ; there 
was a daily increasing demand upon me in some other important matters, which 
few beside myself, from circumstances, could have undertaken. 

I do not think it is possible to measure the real difficulties of the work Miss 
Nightingale has done, and is doing, by the mere magnitude of the field, and 
its peculiarly horrible nature. Every day brought some new complication of misery, 
to be somehow unravelled by the power ruling in the sisters' tower. Each day 
had its peculiar trial to one who had taken such a load of responsibility, in an un- 
tried field, and with a staff of her own sex, all new to it. Her's was a post requir- 
ing the courage of a Cardigan, the tact and diplomacy of a Palmerston, the 
endurance of a Howard, the cheerful philanthropy of a Mrs. Fry or a Miss Neave ; 
Miss Nightingale yet fills that post, and in my opinion is the one individual, who 
in this whole unhappy war, has shown more than any other, what real energy 
guided by good sense can do, to meet the calls of sudden emergency. 

There must have been when I left Scutari little less than four miles of ground 
occupied in lines of beds ; the reader may from tliis conceive the pressure upon the 
physical and mental powers of the sisters. That many of them proved unequal to 
the work was to be expected ; the wonder to me is, how any have survived it. 
Many ought never to have entered upon it. A hospital of this sort in the offices it 
demands from the nurses — and all the sisterhood may be considered as nurses — in 
the scenes with which it surrounds them, makes no ordinary demand on the female 
mind. It is an hourly endurance in a distant country, of trials to many a sense, 
which at home would scarce seem endurable for a moment. 

This is no such nursing as that afforded in the rooms of the sick at home, be 
they our relatives or friends, or those of our poorer fellow creatures. We all know, 
at least the most of us alas ! do, what it is to watch around the sick beds of friends 
and relatives. We know how the exigencies of a sick room break through all the 
mere conventionalities of every day life. Where all have their every interest for 
the time absorbed in the endeavour to minister to the comfort of the sick one by 
whom they watch ; where friends, relatives, and servants have this one object in 



28 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

view — real delicacy consists in being insensible to every thing else. When even in 
distant passages, they who meet speak in whispers, in the actual room of appre- 
hended death, the very atmosphere of the scene makes all things as pure, as the 
motives that call for the sympathy and aid afforded. 

This is very different in the case cf such a scene of death and suffering as that 
at Scutari. The nurse or sister nursing, is hurried from one spot of a vast scene of 
death to another ; at each successive bed to which she may be summoned, she has 
to minister to one a stranger to her. Surrounded as she is by masses only differing 
in the nature, but little in the degree of suffering, it is impossible for her so to 
centre her whole mind upon any one case, as to acquire that perfect command 
over the delicacy of feeling, to which English women are bred, attainable in an or- 
dinary sick room. The trials to which Miss Nightingale as the head of the sister- 
hood is exposed, are so far greater than those of the other sisters, in that she has 
a greater weight of responsibility ; but there is not one of that devoted band, who 
does not each day pass an ordeal to her every womanly sense, beyond all descrip- 
tion. The dressing the wounds of the men, the attendance upon those who are 
in the agonies of death, is but a small part of the field of duty, on which these 
ladies have so boldly entered. 

In my own opinion it would be most advisable that the hired professional nurses, 

should wear some dress distinguishing them from the sisters. There are many 

offices about the sick and wounded which the surgeons would at once require, and 

with reason, of a hired hospital nurse, which nothing could induce them to ask ot 

a " sister." I am also quite satisfied this is no field of usefulness proper for young 

English women. We are very apt to confound the duties and the office of these 

volunteer ladies, with those of the sisters of charity in the French hospitals. From 

what I saw and could learn at those hospitals, the several positions in life of the 

respective parties ; their training, the obhgation of the religious vow, &c. — make a 

very wide distinction between them. 

England and the English Army will ever owe a deep debt of gratitude to the 

Ladies who have devoted themselves to this first attempt, to introduce the zeal 

and tender care of well-bred women, into the economy of a Military Hospital. 

When the war is over, and they return to us, from their experience may be gained 

the valuable information, how far all the work they had to do in this crisis was 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 29 

work that in the sober moment of calm consideration at home, they would recom- 
mend as a field for the charitable exertion of English ladies. I have little doubt 
but the majority would agree with me, that very much of it had been better left, 
had it been possible, to trained paid nurses ; and that there would have still 
remained a large field of more fitting usefulness for the zeal of unpaid volunteers. 

A good deal I know has been said in public, and in private, about the prevalence 
throughout the Protestant part of the Sisterhood, of what are called Puseyite 
principles. It was a matter into which I did not seek to enquire ; it was sufficient 
for me to see that on whatever Church principles it was done, true charity was 
never better represented ; it was a field leaving no room, affording no leisure for 
any outbreak of those polemical bitternesses, which so poison the atmosphere of our 
common Christianity at home. Those ladies I had most to do with when taking 
Chaplain duty were from Miss Sellon's Sisterhood. I found them most active in 
finding out for me every case in their district where I could render any service. 
There may have been jealousies and religious (?) heartburnings ; where is the spot 
on which they do not exist ? J never saw anything of it myself, all worked as of 
one mind. 

I must not pass over my friends Mr. and Mrs. Bracebridge ; the latter ever 
watchful over her charge Miss Nightingale, was most useful to her; indeed 
without such a Motherly friend, I cannot see how she could have got through 
many of the trials of her position. Mr. Bracebridge was active everywhere, and 
from his acquaintance with the East, his persevering good humoured attempts to 
help every-body about everything, was of infinite service. Hitherto God has been 
most merciful in supporting the Sisters and Nurses, in their work of true christian 
love. It is impossible to magnify the amount of labour they undertake. They will 
have their reward at that day when the Great Preacher to the quick and dead, 
shall practically prove the weight and truth of the text. — " I was sick and ye 
visited me." 



30 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 



CHAPTEE V. 



I have hitherto spoken of the sick and wounded soldiers as I saw them within the 
walls of the Hospitals. To an ordinary observer a few weeks after the battle of 
Inkennann, the corridoi's of these buildings however painful the sight they presen- 
ted, would have given a very favourable view of the general condition of the sick 
and wounded compared with what it had been, and still was in some particulars. 
I have spoken strongly on the subject of the internal economy of these Hospitals ; 
there were features connected with their external economy, of which it is impossible 
to speak in adequate terms of indignation and disgust. If the sick and wounded 
soldier did get at last fair and humane treatment when within the Hospital walls at 
Scutari, it was I firmly believe owing to the efforts of those who had no official 
position there. Who can describe what they had to suffer on board the transport 
ships on their way to Scutari, and in the transit from those ships to the Hospitals? 

I made a practice of frequently going down to the pier to assist at the landing 
of these poor creatures ; for I not only found I could thus myself render service, but 
I found also, that from some cause or other, my being present seemed to act 
beneficially in securing more humanity from the attendant officials. To the day 
on which I left, there was not only a very great want of stretchers on which to 
carry the wounded, but there was not one single covered stretcher — all were of the 
very roughest construction. The bearers were invalid soldiers for the most part 
unequal to the work, Turkish soldiers, stupid, careless, and unfeeling, and for a 
time a gang of porters from Constantinople wholly unused to bear any weight in 
an upright position, and therefore very ill adapted for the purpose. 

It is now a matter beyond all contradiction that the way in which the sick and 
wounded were brought from Balaklava to Scutari, was in its every detail utterly 
indefensible. They were put on board in a condition demanding the utmost care ; 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 31 

many had fresh severe wounds, some had undergone recent amputation, many 
were weak to the last degree, the generahty of their clothing was wholly insuffici- 
ent ; and yet they were crowded together between and sometimes on the decks, 
with not even an apology for a bed ; some, indeed I fear many of them, were even 
without a blanket to lie on. 

As to any nursing, as the rule all they could expect was, that which some eight 
or ten invalid soldiers could afford ; on these men, the sea and the smell from the 
crowded decks produced such an effect, that they were themselves soon added to 
the list of sick. The medical assistance was altogether inadequate ; in some cases 
it can scarce have been said to have existed at all. The medicines and medical 
comforts, were either altogether wanting, or only put on board in such quantities, 
as to be a mere mockery. 

The only food some 200 or more wretched suffering and sick men had afforded to 
them, was the usual salt rations of ship diet, and this many of them could not eat; 
in some of the ships the water was so stored that the weakest men could not get at 
it, and had no one to get it for them. The Mauritius brought down a large 
number of these poor creatures, and so shamefully had the authorities provided for 
them, in so awful a condition were they, that a Colonel of one of the regiments, 
himself wounded, who came with them told me, that if it had not been for the 
exertions of the civil Surgeon and the sailors belonging to the transport ship, with 
some soldier's wives, many must have died from positive neglect ; I tliought the 
conduct of these sailors and women to be in such strildng contrast to that of the 
authorities, that I went on board and distributed ten pounds amongst them. 

From some government returns I have in my possession, it is made to appear as 
if the average voyage from Balaklava to Scutari was four days and a half. This is 
to me a tampering with the truth ; it may have been the average passage between 
the two places, but vessels have been fourteen days with sick on board before they 
left the Crimea, another week after anchoring in the Bosphorus, before the sick 
were landed. I have known passengers coming down in these ships, obliged to 
leave them from the dreadful stench proceeding from between decks where the sick 
were huddled together. As to any of the conveniences necessary for men who 
could not stir from where they were placed, they never seem to have been thought 
of. Individuals of respectability who have made the voyage in these vessels when 



32 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

thus freighted, have declared to me, that the dreadful cruelty of the whole treat- 
ment of these poor men was beyond all belief — it has been well called " the middle 
passage." 

The Officers who came down to the Bosphorus with the Avon, will I think 
never forget the horrors they witnessed ; I have been furnished with some details 
of that passage, and also of the voyages of other transports ; they are too dreadful 
for publication ; of course many died under this system of barbarous neglect ; those 
who survived were landed in a condition so miserable, that one could scarcely have 
congratulated them on their escape. 

I will give an instance of how this painful treatment of the sick and wounded 
was sometimes needlessly prolonged. The Medway had had her melancholy 
freight on board nearly three weeks ; she was anchored less than a quarter of a mile 
from Scutari. I went over early one morning in hopes of aiding in moving the 
poor creatures to the hospital on shore. As I crossed the Bosphorus, I met the 
large boats we usually employed for the purpose, going over to the Golden Horn 
loaded with soldiers returning to the Crimea ; when I reached Scutari pier, I found 
the authorities energetically abusing Admiral Boxer, who had thus taken possession 
of the only boats by which the sick could be landed ; the consequence was, the 
day was lost, and we had for the three next days weather which defied any attempt 
to bring them ashore. I have in another chapter endeavoured to give some idea of 
the inconvenience of the landing place at Scutari, and the scene of confusion it 
presented. The large boats bringing the sick and wounded ashore, came along- 
side the only sound part of this so called pier. Those who were very severely 
wounded were brought on stretchers ; they had then to be lifted out and placed on 
the ground ; four men were called from the crowd of invahd orderlies marched 
down for the purpose ; the stretcher was then lifted on to their shoulders, and they 
started to face the steep long ascent with their melancholy burden. These bearers 
were not only often so physically weak as to be unfit for the work, but no one 
seemed disposed to take any pains to choose men of equal height for any one 
stretcher. The groans of the poor creatures thus carried were often most painful 
to hear. Occasionally there were not bearers enough, and I have seen the wound- 
ed men lying for some considerable length of time on the damp surface of the pier, 
waiting till more came. When the poor fellows had been thus carried to the hos- 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 33 

pital, they were sometimes subjected to still further pciinful trial, being put down 
and taken up again and again, before the authorities could determine in what part 
of the hospital they were to be placed. 

I must say this wanton addition to suffering, was not confined to the cases of 
common soldiers ; more than one oflScer has known something of it in his own per- 
son. It will hardly be believed, but it cannot be denied, that men almost in the 
last hours of their existence have been carried up to the barrack hospital, sent on 
from thence the rough half mile to the general hospital, and then sent back again, 
because there was no room for them. 

When I recollect how the poor wounded men of the Balaklava and Inkermann 
actions, groaned with pain even when lifted from the boats with the greatest care ; 
when I call to mind how from the evident nature of some of their wounds, any, the 
least motion must have been most painful ; all the indignation I felt at the time, 
returns upon me at the utter want of feeling, with which their transport from the 
ships to the hospital was effected. I could well enter into the feelings of one officer 
who himself lying wounded on a stretcher, seemed so disgusted with the whole scene, 
that he exclaimed, " do cover my face for me ; " it was indeed a trial of any man's 
nerves, to see the way this important part of the public service was misconducted. 

Let the reader now imagine himself standing on the highest part of the paved 
acclivity, leading from the Scutari pier to the Barrack Hospital, at a time when the 
sick and wounded were being landed fi'om one of these transport ships. A proces- 
sion would pass him of perhaps the most melancholy character it is possible lo 
conceive. One after anotlier in quick succession would be seen groups of four weak, 
ill clad, pale, weary invalids — (they called them convalescents), staggering up the 
ascent with a stretcher on their shoulders bearing one of England's heroes ; maisy 
of them in the very clothes in which they fought, never having had more than just 
enough of them removed, to enable the surgeons to dress their wounds or amputate 
their limbs. Their ghastly appearance, the evident famine as well as pain stamped 
upon their countenance, told it's own sad tale ; the stretchers were so badly con- 
structed, the beavers so little equal to the task, that the poor men thus cjirried, 
were for ever crying out with agony at each change of their position, caused by the 
difiiculty with which they could be carried at all, by such weak men, over such 
difficult ground. F«r hours with little interruption would this file of bearers with 
their living load pass by you. 



34 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

It was hard to conceive any thing more piteous than this, and yet from time to time, 
in slower but yet in too quick succession, other objects even more pitiable would 
come under view. Far too great a number of these unfortunate men were obliged 
to walk from the pier to the hospital, some even without that support afforded by 
one or more orderlies, which others were so fortunate as to obtain. Very many of 
them were mere spectres ; they did in reality more belong to the dead tlian to the 
living, for death was stamped indelibly upon them. They could, even when 
helped, scarcely crawl over this rough, hard, steep road ; and let me add, that thsy 
frequently had been more than six hours without any food. I am told tliat a 
certain Member of ParUament was so shocked at one of these cases, that lie 
actually carried the man himself. I have given them often sherry, and brandy 
and water which I took with me for the purpose, and it seemed as though they 
scarcely had the power to swallow it. It will not be denied, that many of these 
poor creatures had thus to walk, because there was not a sufficient number of 
stretchers to carry them, or if there had been, of orderlies to carry the stretchers. 
So weak were some of these bearers, that on one occasion, when I had to land and 
convey a friend, an officer wounded at Inkermann, from the farthest pier to the 
General Hospital, one of them was so faint, I had to get rid of him, and replace 
him by a soldier passing at the time. 

But will it be believed that after these poor sinking, sick, and wounded men liad 
made their painful journey to the Barrack Hospital from the Scutari pier, I have 
seen them, walked up and down the wards, whilst a distracted official was in vain 
trying to find them beds. I have known them to be left on one occasion for a 
length of time huddled together in a ward without beds, and even in the open 
yard exposed to heavy rain : this was the case with the sick from the " Gertrude " 
but a few days before I left. It is no matter of surprise to me, that there 
were deaths between the ship's side and the hospital. 

And what a scene was it to see them stripped and washed ! I can stand by an 
unmoved spectator of any the severest operation ; 1 have in the East and elsewhere 
seen such destruction of the human frame, by disease, fire or violence, as at the 
time almost to destroy any power I had of rendering assistance, so sickened have 
I been ; but I have never seen worked out upon the human body anything so truly 
horrifying, as was shown upon the naked frames of these men. I know, for I 
studied it in Ireland, the well defined characteristics of famine ; it is a matter in 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 35 

which I do not think I can be deceived, for starvation can be recognized by a 
practised eye, quite as easily as many of the diseases we are subject to which are 
unmistakeable. It is my behef that a very large proportion of these so called sick, 
were men who had been starved. The food served to them in the camp was not 
sufficient, had they been ever so well sheltered ; there were other bad features in 
it besides that poisonous one the green coffee. The way the men were worked, 
and not sheltered, whilst it exposed them to utter exhaustion of physical power, 
often forbad them getting at their wretched ill-cooked rations, until they were so 
sick they could not touch them. They hterally/e/^ sick, were put on board the 
transports, in the condition I have spoken of above ; on board these ships, these 
famine stricken men, had no other rations than salt meat and hard ship biscuit. 
In rare instances I could trace out the fact of some rice having been served out a 
few times on the voyage. 

I fully expect much of what I have here written will be strenuously denied ; on 
the evidence of my own eyes, on the testimony of upright impartial witnesses, I 
am prepared to assert, I have given a very modified, rather than a high coloured 
view of what this transport service, and the system pursued in landing the sick, 
really was. I challenged the attention of the Commissioners sent out by the Duke 
of Newcastle, to it at the time, on the spot, in terms which left them no room for 
doubt, that in my opinion nothing could be more disgraceful, more wantonly 
cruel ; I reported it to Lord RedclifFe, and sent a letter direct to the Minister of 
War on the subject. I have reason to know that even to this very day, the im- 
provement has been far more a matter of promise than of reality. 

I would have my readers bear in mind, that many of these poor suffering ill- 
treated men, were from the ranks of " the Guards" whose departure for the East 
caused such a sensation in London. I wish the Queen could have seen them, 
when after having won all the glory for her army, that the most sanguine of their 
admirers could have hoped for, they met that sad, cruel treatment, which all 
would have considered common humanity, the commonest foresight, might have 
spared them. I well remember the feeling with which I read the account of their 
march through the streets of London, and their embarkation ; I felt as I read it how 
natural were the tears of many of the spectators, the excitement of all who looked 
on that noble body of men, the very flower of our army, the men on whom the nation 
knew it could depend for deeds of bravery, worthy of their of old well earned fame. 



36 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

Are we to forget, or lightly forgive the treatment to which these and others as 
brlve of our soldiers were so wantonly exposed ? In my opinion, neither in the 
triumph of victory, if we are yet so blessed, or in the shame and degradation of de- 
feat, if defeat with shame can by possibility be contemplated, should this nation 
forget, that it is it's bounden duty to trace out how, by whose negligence, by 
whose ignorance it happened, that men whose deeds of heroism we were swift to 
acknowledge in the field, when wounded and sick, were subject to such want of the 
commonest cai-e and humanity. There is the greater claim in this matter for en- 
quiry, as I am satisfied, the government at home had taken considerable pains to 
order the very necessaries the want of which was most felt ; and had empowered 
the English Ambassador on the spot, to meet promptly without regard to expense, 
every requisition made to him. It must have been clear to the dullest in capacity 
of the officials at Scutari, that a greals deal of what I have now described, might 
have been provided against, by a very little activity, and a very small outlay of 
money. With regard to the astounding list of necessary stores, I here record my 
solemn conviction, that in this matter, there must have been something worse than 
negligence on the part of the departments at home. I cannot believe they were 
all shipped for the East ; for it is to me wholly impossible that such a bulk of goods 
could be even in the East mis-laid. I can fi'om what I have learned lately of the 
way in which public business is conducted, far more easily come to the conclusion, 
that the discovery of these stores would be more properly put into the hands of my 
friend Sir Richard Mayne, than into that of any " commission." 

As to the way the sick were treated at Balaklava, were put on board ship, 
and the ships ordered to sail unfound in attendance, in food, and in the necessaries 
common decency demanded, I for one cannot remove the weight of this national 
disgrace, from the door of the Commander in Chief and his Staff. The facts could 
not have been kept from him, had he been commonly active himself, or been 
served by a staff disposed to do it's duty. It would be to me a betrayal erf all jus- 
tice, treason to every christian feeling, if I did not thus state what I believe to be 
the truth. There are plenty of pens and voices to defend Generals and Staff 
Officers ; they can speak and write for themselves; my poor clients if living dire 
not speak ; but alas ! how few have been spared to prove that povver of endurance, 
which will so suflTer, and yet not complain. 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 



37 



CHAPTEE VI. 



Many of my readers will I have no doubt expect that I should give some account 
of the condition of the sick and wounded officers in the Hospital. On the whole I 
saw no serious cause of .complaint in their case. They most of them had their own 
servants, and the means of procuring any extra comforts of which they stood in 
need. They, with the men, of course felt, though in an infinitely less degree, the 
prevalence of the want of order in the Hospitals. However I do not think they 
would themselves say that this affected them in any really important matter. By 
the agency I believe of Mr. Sabine, and the liberality of Lady RedclifFe, they had 
latterly a kitchen established for their separate convenience, and many little extra 
comforts were thus supplied to them. 

The wards in which they were placed after their late camp experience, were so 
great an improvement as to general comfort, that they were quite content to over- 
look many minor inconveniences. Some of them came into the Hospital severely 
wounded; they were generally most cheerful and patient; it was evident that even 
the loss of limb was compensated by the feehng, that they had bravely done their 
duty, the country knew it, and Home not the Camp was now before them. 

My occupation was chiefly amongst the men, yet I had much very interesting 
communication with their officers. I can say of them on the sick bed and dying, 
as I can also say of them whenever I met them in the East, that nothing 
could exceed their patient endurance of suffering, their moral courage, their 
modest unboasting reference to all they had so nobly done : their whole tone 
towards each other, and to civilians, gave me the highest impression of the char- 
acter of the English Officer when thus on active service. 

As nurses to each other, no sister or mother could have been more kind and 



38 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

patient. I had occasion in two different cases to see day after day, tlie most 
gratifying instance of this true "brother officer" attachment. I lielped to nm"se 
one of them for many days ; he was attended to the hour of his death by an officer, 
who had known little more of him than I had myself; one who has distinguished 
himself in a way second to none in this campaign ; in no woman watching over 
her own child, did I ever see greater tenderness, patience, and self-denial, than I 
witnessed in the care taken of Captain Williams of the Scots Greys by Major 
Nasmyth ; that poor fellow had also the friendly sympathy and aid of many other 
officers at Pera : their whole tone and manner, made me admire them as much in 
the sick room of a comrade, as I could also give to them my share of the universal 
admiration of their conduct in the presence of the enemy. 

I may be wrong, but it is my honest opinion, that except where they have 
expressed a Avish for their presence, the wounded officer in the Hospital, is in 
reality happier in the absence of female I'elatives; if they arrive in time to be of use, 
there is much in the way of their power to give all the aid and comfort they would 
desire ; their presence 1 know well, often causes the greatest anxiety to those they 
rome to nurse. If an officer is dying in the ward of a Hospital, his relatives may 
rest assured, all he expects of comfort, all he can desire of sympathy, is shown him 
by those about him. Where the wound has been severe, he has contemplated 
it's probable end; so too have those who share the ward with him ; they give him 
the soldier's true earthly comfort, the friendly sympathy, of men who shared the 
danger with him, and now bear in their own persons proofs of what it cost them. 
Is he to die ? it is amongst his brother officers, still in one of war's scenes ; he left 
home to dare this fate ; faces from home alas ! too often recall the sacrifice he made 
for the service he then undertook ; they cannot alter the fact — .he is an officer dying 
with the Army on service ; their presence brings the painful revival of so many a 
home feeling, adds so much to make that death still more trying, that I do sincerely 
doubt, whether any joy from the greeting of the parent or the wife, makes up in 
the pleasure it may afford, for that calm which it certainly disturbs. In spiritual 
matters the Chaplains are kind and attentive to him ; in all other matters his 
brother officers, in tlieir manly sympathy offer all he requires. The dying officer 
does not forget home, or under-value it's call upon his heart ; he is the son, the 
husband, or the brother; but as the soldier in service he knows that living or dying, 
service must separate him from his relatives. 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 



39 



I was at the funeral of an officer of high rank whose wife we knew was expected 
every hour from England. I was present with others — one a very young wife — 
when we consulted how we should break to a lady in the next ward, the death of 
her husband ; within two hours, that young wife knew herself also to be a widow. 
Other circumstances of an equally distressing nature came to my notice ; it is true 
there were plenty to sympathise with the mourners ; but amidst such scenes, in 
that country where at the best of times, a lady finds daily life to be daily trial, I 
ever felt how well it would have been, if the love that hurried these relatives to 
nurse their wounded or their sick, could have at any cost been restrained, and 
they had awaited the issue at home. 

Not the least painful part of a duty I shared with others, was that of breaking 
to the relatives in England tlie sad news of the death or hopeless condition of 
officers in the hospitals ; it was the more painful from the fact, that in the hurry 
after an action, mistakes were often made in the returns. Some ot the officers 
who died were very young, and yet the oldest veterans of the service, could not 
have borne up more bravely than they did under their sufferings, and in some 
cases, under the certain apprehension of their approaching fatal termination. 
I have received directions from such as the last hour approached, as to what after 
death they wished done, in matters scarcely to be called of business — but rather 
of affection — given with a calm composure I have never seen surpassed even in 
those who advanced in years, and long warned, desired thus to "set their house in 
order". The usual custom is, that the letters, papers, and small articles likely to 
be precious to their relatives ; with the sword, epaulettes and a few other things, 
should be packed up under seal, and either given at once to some friend of the 
deceased, to see them to their destination, or placed in store till asked for. The 
rest of the property — few had much — was I believe sold by auction, and the pro- 
duce of the sale dealt with according to the military rules that regulated such 
matters. 

It was seldom indeed, that some friendly hand did not cut off a portion of the 
hair of the deceased, to put up with his letters and papers ; all felt there were 
some at home, to whom it would afford gratification ; I believe this has been often 
done on the field of battle, and even by men of a nature considered so stern, as 
little likely to sympathise in such a matter. 



40 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

One instance of the sudden change in the condition of the wouwded came to 
my own notice, in a very painful manner. I had visited a very young officer, at 
the wish of some of his friends in England ; he was so severely wounded, that I 
had no hope myself, that he could recover ; those about him however, did not 
take the same view. I had from time to time got him game, biscuits &c., from 
Pera, which he seemed to enjoy ; sitting with him one afternoon, I promised to 
bring him the next day some jelly and a game pie he seemed to fancy, and also 
a mosquito net to keep the flies from him ; (they were at times in the hospitals a 
perfect pest.) I went over early the next morning with the things I had promised, 
walked into the room, and as soon as I had put my load upon the table, I turned 
as usual to ask him how he was— the clothes were all removed from the bed, on 
which, under a sheet lay his corpse ; he had died a few hours after I had left him. 
We cut off some of his hair, sealed up his papers &c. — in ten minutes one of the 
Chaplains had found for me another wounded officer, most thankful for the things 
I had brought. 

God knows it was not that our hearts were hardened, but in that scene of death, 
it seemed as if no particular claim upon our feelings could survive but for a short 
time the general demand for sympathy, with which from hour to hour we were 
surrounded. It seems to me at this moment marvellous, that human nature could 
reconcile itself as it did, to scenes then scarcely felt for an hour, but the memory 
of any one of which is most trying. It was merciful that it was so, for otherwise 
who could have endured, what so many cheerfully undertook. I have often since 
my return to England, been asked, if I could give the relatives of officers and sol- 
diers, who died at Scutari, the particulars of their feelings in the last hours of their 
life. Alas ! it is seldom this can be done ; the hospital is only after all a part of 
the battlefield ; it is a crowd of those who have fought, and who fighting, have 
through wounds or weakness, had to fall back from active service to passive suffer- 
in"-. They are still as it were in the ranks, still on duty, to recover and return, to 
die or be invalided home. Men on the field speak not of danger, for it speaks for 
itself; and none are deaf to it, though none will act as though they heard it's warn- 
ing voice. Men who for many weeks have lived a life, in which the only change 
from the privation and watchfulness which undermined their strength, was the call 
to action after action, one more deadly than another ; become so habituated to 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 41 

hold life cheap, are so thoroughly wrapped up in the sense of the risk at which they 
seek the honour of their profession ; that as in the camp, so in the hospital, death 
is an ever expected guest, and few indeed seek to make special preparation at any 
particular moment for his coming. When he does come to them on their beds, it 
is still a soldier's death ; a letter or two home may be dictated to a friend, some 
messages sent to brother officers, a quick calm distribution of effects at hand made ; 
gratitude expressed to those who so kindly ever support their brother soldier in 
these moments — this with the brief services the chaplain can offer, ever thankfully 
appreciated, form the chief features of the last scene in the lives of these brave men. 
It is a battlefield death just postponed till the victim has joined in the hospital 
ranks, those who have in a fresh scene, to struggle once more, not with the instru- 
ments of war's destroying power, but with their effect. 

I heard a good deal of observation made on the spot, and also since I came 
home, v/ith regard to the fact that Miss Nightingale and the '• sisters " did not pay 
the same attention to the wards of the wounded and sick officers, which was given 
to those of the soldiers ; I believe as the rule. Miss Nightingale did consider her 
own and the services of her " corps " confined by previous understanding to the 
soldiers only, though I have known her on special request from a medical officer, 
cheerfully order small matters of extra diet for a wounded officer. I know Mr. 
Bracebridge was most active and willing to forward everything which could be 
devised for the comfort of the officers ; independent of any understanding which 
may have been come to, on the subject, previous to her leaving England, (if any 
there was) I can see myself a good deal of practical difficulty which would have 
arisen, had she taken any other course. I am satisfied she is not a person who 
would ever lightly put aside any means of rendering aid to those of her fellov/ 
creatures she could assist; but I can conceive with all that awaited her in the 
endeavour to introduce this new element of nursing by ladies, amongst the common 
soldiers in a hospital, she might have urged very reasonable grounds for not also 
undertaking the same duty amongst the officers. If I am not however mis-informed, 
since I left, she has in more than one instance been of the utmost comfort and 
service at the dying beds of more than one officer of the establishment. 



42 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS, 



CHAPTEE VII. 



The funerals of all officers and soldiers dying at Scutari or on board any ship in 
the Bosphorus, take place each day at about four o'clock. The Burial Ground as 
shown in the engraving is close to the General Hospital, lying between it's walls 
and the edge of the cliff which rises with some boldness from the shore. It is a 
spot from which on a fine day the view in every direction is most beautiful, it is 
one also admirably adapted for the purpose ; I trust at some future day it will not 
only be properly enclosed, but that a monument will be erected upon it, worthy 
of the memory of the brave men who are here buried. I cannot conceive a finer 
position for a national memorial to the bravery and endurance of the Crimean Army 
than this spot would afford. 

It was on a fine but rather stormy day I crossed with a friend to Scutari, and 
landed at the pier nearest to the burial ground ; we were both about to attend the 
funeral of an officer, in whom we had taken much interest. We arrived about an 
hour before the time appointed. Standing on the high ground at some little dis- 
tance from the General Hospital, we were spectators of a scene, which I do not 
think either of us is very likely to forget. Looking towards the burial ground on 
our right, there were several groups of orderlies, busily at work preparing the 
graves for the four officers who were this day to be buried ; and the usual large pit, 
to receive the bodies of the common soldiers ; near them in different positions were 
a quantity of the dogs, so many hundreds of which live in a half wild state about 
the plains on which the hospitals stand. Close to us grazed two large rough look- 
ing buffaloes, watched by an old Turk, whose rags and dirty appearance made him 
quite in character with the brutes beside him. 

About a hundred yards from where we stood was the ravine up which a rough 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 43 

road leads from the Barrack to the General Hospital. On this road was passing a 
long train of men, bearing on their slioulders, the stretchers with the blanket 
shrouded bodies of the soldiers, who had died the day before at the Barrack Hospi- 
tal ; looking beyond this sad procession, in the direction of the distant Turkish 
cemetery, we saw another and a very different stream of bearers with their human 
load. This was, the officers wounded or sick, but convalescent, being taken from 
the hospital down to Scutari pier, to be embarked for England. They were on 
stretchers, the different positions in which they lay, or partially were raised up, to 
meet the nature of their wounds ; their uniforms, and the servants and others ac- 
companying them, made this stream of crippled life however pitiable, yet most 
agreeable when viewed in contrast with the melancholy file of dead, passing nearer 
to us. 

How much food for serious thought was here ; that procession of the dead, had 
yet to work out it's full tale of grief in many a family at home — the deaths of those 
brave men had yet to be learned, where the real weight of the blow would be felt 
most. Thus had it been for many a day, thus would it be for months to come. 
Sooner or later would the truth arrive at many a home, that the husband — the 
parent — the brother — the light of many a loving heart, whose future owned him 
as the chiefest element in Ufe's hope of happiness, was dead, had met a soldier's end 
in a distant land, and now with many hundreds of others as loved, shared there the 
soldier's grave. 

In the houses of the wealthy and the great, in such days as these, the opening 
of the post-bag, becomes from day to day an increasing trial ; it may afford a fresh 
lease of hope where all hope had almost ceased to exist ; it does bring to many, 
the message to destroy it altogether! With some, the custom of receiving their 
letters at breakfast openly, as a source of social pleasure to the whole circle, has 
been now wisely set aside. It has become the trying duty of some one member 
of the household, to receive alone, that which may give unalloyed joy, re-kindle 
hope, or suddenly bid it cease altogether. 

The newspaper tells, that by telegraph it is known a mail has arrived at 
Marseilles; thousands read the short notice of the fact, with hearts which seem to 
sicken under the feehngs of suspense which must hang over the next day or two ; 
there is now an unnatural quiet throughout the whole household, and each day 



44 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

from the moment that it is known the post is come, until some sign is given of 
what for good or for evil it has brought, all go about their duties and their several 
pursuits with a feeling of painful pressure on the mind. 

Has "foreign" news come to the "Hall" or the "Castle," it is soon known in 
the village ; and now many an anxious face may be seen each day waiting at the 
shop and " post office," whilst the clerk who is postmaster, proceeds to unseal the 
village mail-bag. All important as he is, as the messenger to deliver grief or joy 
to others, he has too his own anxiety ; his own son is in the army of the East. 
Within the counter near to him are his wife and daughters ; to them how slowly 
does he seem to spread out and sort the few dozen letters ; they have no glance to 
day to spare for the well written directions of the Rectory, the Brewery, the wealthy 
yeomen of the village ; they try with curious eyes to recognize which are the ill- 
folded, worse directed — " Soldier's Army letters." He takes these from the rest — 
there are four of them; one with hasty hand he gives his wife, "thank God" his 
only words ; it is the well-known writing of his son : he turns now towards the 
counter — there are four or five women there, waiting " letters ; " two children with 
some half-pence before them, are come to make purchases, they seem alive to the 
nature of the scene, and as yet speak not of what they want themselves. To two 
women he gives to each a letter; the third with shaking hand be holds up to the 
light, and seems to study every word of the direction, yet it is written plainly 
enough, and is intended for the elderly woman at the counter, with the tall girl — 
not yet her daughter — by her side. He has recognised the hand writing of one of 
the Chaplains of the Hospital in the East ; he has had letters so directed pass 
through his hands twice before, and knew well what was told in them. At last he 
gives the letter to her to whom it belongs; she has not gone many yards from the 
door, before she has opened it — it is short — with a glance she has gathered it's 
tale ; turning to the girl walking near her, she says — " God help thee and me Jane ;" 
not a word more is said by either; they hurry to their lowly dwelling; once there, 
there is no restraint upon the agony of their grief, no concealment of it's cause ; 
she who was the widow with one son, is childless ; could grief be more acute, were 
that poor girl who had hoped to be the lost one's wife, now indeed his widow? 
Neighbours crowd in with many a word of attempted comfort, to offer many an 
office of real sympathy ; long after the sun has set upon that day, are the hysterical 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 45 

screams of the younger of the mourners heard ; the mother weeps, says little, but 
in the silent depth of her sorrow, proves that it is one, time may make endurable, 
but never can efface. The Rector's wife, a lady from the Hall, have been to that 
cottage ; all that true sympathy, all that the teaching of the christian's book, all 
that the liberality of christian charity, could do or promise, has been offered — but 
as yet it is too soon ; — the one is stunned in the mother's woe ; the other raves in 
the full force of youths agony, at the sudden crushing of youth's fondest hope. 

O ! war, war, how dost thou in thy utter bitterness of trial curse our race ! 
sowing penalties and pains broadcast over our living soil, heaping up more of 
poverty on the very poor, deriding the widow in her bereavement, making her 
childless ; casting on them who only in hope are wives, pangs as bitter as those of 
widows ; thou begettest orphans ; in the very wantonness of thy cruelty seekest 
victims from every class; reckless of all social distinction, levelling all to one 
condition — that of the heart-broken and desolate : men crown thy triumphs with 
laurel — the cypress of the cemetery, the yew of the village churchyard, these are 
the real emblems of thine accursed work. 

About four o'clock we saw the funeral procession leaving the gate of the Hospital. 
Of the four officers who were to be buried, one was a Russian ; these were all in 
coffins ; a "Union Jack" is sometimes used as a pall ; one had to day been procured 
in the case of the officer whose funeral I had come to attend. There were about 
twenty private soldiers carried on stretchers ; a firing party, about six or eight 
mourners, a few orderlies and the chaplain made up the parties present. The 
bodies of the men were laid one on the other in the pit dug to receive them ; those 
of the officers in their respective graves ; the service or a portion of it was read at 
each grave and at the pit, the firing party moving with the Chaplain ; the actual 
firing is dispensed with. At two of the graves, there were no special mourners ; 
we had our own small group at that of Capt 

At the grave of Col. there was one, whose every look and gesture proved, 

that he really mourned a friend deeply loved. There are men who under the 
roughest manners hide the tenderest of hearts ; men apparently cast in so stern a 
mould, tliat any outward visible sign of sorrow would scarcely be under any pres- 
sure expected. Just such a man was this mourner at the grave of Col. — . Those 
who only know Admiral as the very embodiment of the rough tough seaman 



46 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

of the naval tale of fiction — a man few cared to brave in his calmest moments on 
any business Hkely to rouse a temper so irritable, that it ever vented itself with as 
little respect to persons as to language — would have expected such evidence of deep 
almost womanly sorrow as he that day evinced. With his white head bared to the 
wind, he stood at the foot of the grave long after the service was over ; he quitted 
it for a time, came to the other graves with head still uncovered, then returned 
again, again to stand alone, a true picture of a veteran, who could and would 
command wherever duty and courage should give the call ; but here was himself so 
unmanned, that his own stern nature had mutinied, and held him wholly captive 
to a power strange, painful, but not to be resisted. The appearance of the so 
called firing party, was in character with all that is now so well knov/n of the con- 
dition of the Army in the East. I do not think one of them wore the entire 
uniform of any particular regiment ; it was not merely a contingent from a body of 
invalids, but the whole outward appearance of the men told a pitiable tale of the 
effect of exposure and privation. They were clad in the remnants of many uni- 
forms ; their whole aspect and manner showed that they were a draught from an 
army, on which the hardest service of war had done it's worst. It struck me pain- 
fully, that out of mere form, men in such condition should day after day be paraded 
for such a service, for it entailed upon them an exposure to the weather, from 
which their evident weak condition might have well exempted them. 

So limited have been the means for the most obvious duties connected with the 
Hospitals, that on some days, the dead bodies of the soldiers have been brought to 
the grave side, stacked up one above the other, on a rough araba drawn by oxen 
a sight as disgusting as disgraceful. I am happy to say, a Firman vv-ill be or has 
been applied for, to enable the English Government to enclose the burying ground 
at Scutari ; for years yet to come it must be a spot most interesting to many ; may 
the lesson it ought to afford to our ruling powers have its due effect ; it contains 
the remains of those who bravely met a soldier's death at the hand of an open foe 
in the field ; it has within it also the remains of many hundreds, whose deaths, few 
will venture to deny, were caused by the most wanton neglect of all that could 
have preserved their health at the camp, or afforded proper treatment to the sick- 
ness which at last brought them to the Hospital. We owe to this spot a national 
monument ; let us see that we give one worthy of it ; we owe to the causes which 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 47 

have made it what it is, a nation's firm determination, that never again shall any 
spot tell such a tale of culpable negligence and folly. 

It was with mixed feelings I that day returned from my friend's funeral ; he had 
died from a wound received in action ; I should have been sorry to have been one 
of a jury, to decide by what means many in that pit crowded with the blanket-clad 
corpses of the private soldiers, had come to their end. As we went back to our 
boat, we met the usual procession of famine stricken men just landed, toiling up 
the steep hill from the pier to the Barrack Hospital ; one or two looked so httle 
able to get there ahve, that some of us stopped to give them a little brandy ; I 
have no doubt many of these were bound almost straight for the burying ground. 

On my return to England, amongst other commissions I had undertaken, was 
that of carrying to his mother, the sword, papers &c. of a very young officer 
whom I had visited when dying from a wound at Scutari ; I ascertained that she 

lived at the village of ; getting out of a train some miles from it, I hired a 

carriage and set off on my melancholy errand ; I was told Mrs. lived on the 

village common ; I stopped at a shop on this green or common, and asked which 
was the house. My business was at once guessed, for I had the sword &c in my 
hand ; they pointed out to me the dwelling I sought ; leaving tlie carriage I walked 
across the green ; after I had rung the bell at a garden gate, I turned round and 
saw the people standing at their doors in small groups, at many of the houses near 
the shop at which I had first enquired, all looking towards the spot where I stood ; 
the nature of my mission had in some mysterious way spread right and left. 

Having partly explained the cause of my visit to a servant, I was presently 
shown into a sitting room, evidently just qviitted by some ladies ; on the tables 
and in different parts of the room, I could read somewhat of the sad tale I had 
yet to complete ; there were many silent but yet speaking proofs that it was a house 
of mourning. I recognized one picture of the poor fellow as I had known him, 
and another done at a different age. There was something in the whole aspect 
and atmosphere of the room, that seemed to tell of the scenes of family grief which 
had so lately been acted there. I did not wonder at the length of time I had to 

wait ; I could understand it well. "VMien the door again opened, Mrs. his 

mother a widow came towards me ; her grief not yet three weeks old, had evidently 
written years upon her ; she showed herself worthy to be the parent of one who 



43 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

had been so Icved in his regiment, and had died so honoured. As wcmcn ever are 
in these moments of severe trial, she was strong to bear up uader it, but nature 
from time to time would break through all power of restraint. 
• Let me here say to all who may read these pages — never regard as trivial, any, 
the least circumstances of a death-bed ; you may have hereafter to ir.eet with thoso, 
to whom many things seeming then as trifles to you, are as treasures to them. It 
is the sweetest of all returns made for services to the dying, the pleasure you can 
afterwards afford relatives, by answering their questions, in these small matters. 
It is not merely the lock of hair, the little heap of home letters — tha journal — the 
watch &c — that you take to these mourners ; each one of these developes some little 
family trait of affection ; and the domestic records in ths mother's her.rt of the 
early life, beget as they are told, question after question, on th^ e'/snts of the eiirly 
death. A true mourner counts all as gain that can bring out the lights and shades 
of the last days of the mourned. 

My task was soon at an end, painful in what it did, gratefd in the gratitude 
shown towards me in that I had done it. Well could I piotuie to r^iysslf -v/hat the 
wails of that room would yet for some days witness. 

The sword that had only dropped from the hand at Inkermann when the bullet 
pierced the heart — here "was the monument to the soldier : thcss letters that had 
kept up home's love in the scenes of war's strifes ; that journal written in a son's 
and a soldier's spirit, so full of life, hope, and daring— here wac th? epitaph, 
"mindful of his home, he died for his country": that v/atch v/our.d up the last 
night of life, stopping when the hand that wound it lay motionless by the side of 
the heart, now for ever at rest — this gave the date. 

Mother — sister — brother — you were in your grief few amongst many thousands, 
just so afflicted, or it may be worse, for to you it is given, not to sorrow \v'ithcut 
hope. On my return to my carriage I found the news of what had brought me to 
the village, was now far spread — many were the enquiries — much and deep the 
interest — " he was so young " said one, " and all hereabout so loved hira." 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS, 49 



CHAPTEE VIII. 



In addition to the Hospitals at Scutari, there were two floating Hospitals at the 
Golden Horn. I visited the largest of these and reported its condition to Lord 
RedclifFe. In vain for many weeks had the Medical Ofiicers made requisitions for 
some of the simplest necessaries, demanded by the condition of the patients ; they 
could not get the supplies they asked for ; for some 200 patients there were not 
twenty beds, and these were very recently supplied. As a hospital, the state of 
the " hulk " on the day I visited it was shameful ; but it was clearly no fault of the 
medical officers. Mr. Macdonald who was with me, at once undertook to supply 
from the Times fund, many necessaries and comforts which we saw to be so much 
needed ; and I have reason to know that the report I made to the Ambassador, 
secured prompt attention to the requisitions, I begged the surgeons once more to 
make. 

At Therapia, about twelve miles up the Bosphorus, is the Naval Hospital ; I 
paid it a hasty visit ; it is small, but as yet quite large enough for its purpose. No- 
thing could exceed the cleanhness, comfort, and order which appeared to prevail. 
The naval authorities had taken care to commence preparations here, as early I 
beheve, as April. The patients were as happy as sailors ever are when sick and in 
bed ; one poor fellow was in the act of dying ; he was closely watched, and had 
every kind attention. An officer who had lately had a limb amputated, although 
he was in much pain and some danger, had every comfort the best hospital in 
England could have afforded. The ventilation seemed good, and there were ample 
means of securing warmth. I saw here none of that confusion and resort to tem- 
porary expedients which so prevailed at Scutari. I satisfied myself that the rela- 
tives of those who are employed in the Navy in the East, need be under no 

a 



so SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

apprehension, that in the event of sickness or wounds, they will not be well cared 
for in every respect. There were plenty of books and newspapers ; indeed I could 
not find from the medical officer, that there had been any difficulty in obtaining 
everything desirable for the proper treatment and comfort of the patients. He 
expressed to me a wish, that one or two nurses, should be appointed to the estab- 
lishment, and I have reason to believe this was done within a few days of my visit. 

I learned a fact here quite in keeping with the general misconduct of the author- 
ities at the Camp and Scutari. A transport ship brought down from Balaklava 
some sick soldiers, with them some marines, who had been serving ashore ; these 
latter were carried with the rest to Scutari, or rather into the Bosphorus ; they 
were not allowed to land, for it was made a matter of question whether they were 
to be treated as soldiers or sailors ! It was said, that after having been kept on 
board some days, and treated in a manner certainly not easily to he justified, the 
Naval authorities were desired to send for them to Therapia, which place they had 
passed on their way in the first instance. I will only add with regard to the Naval 
Hospital, that it was in it's management and general economy the one English 
thing, I saw properly conducted in the East. 

By the kindness of Mon. Levi I was permitted to inspect the French Military 
Hospital at Pera. I went there as early as eight o'clock one morning, and found 
the chief medical officer going the round of the officers wards. The building it- 
self is of a somewhat similar construction to those at Scutari, but in many respects 
superior to them. The officer's wards, were handsome lofty rooms ; the rest of the 
building had the usual corridors of considerable breadth, and opening out of these 
were wards with the divans on raised platforms so common in these eastern build- 
ings. The French are certainly a most wonderful people, at home anywhere ; I 
found it difficult to believe that the order, quiet, regularity of service and perfect 
machinery of this Hospital could be the growth of but a few months, and that too 
in a foreign land. One element was obvious throughout — system. Every one 
seemed to have his own particular sphere of duty, and quietly to set about it. 
Nothing seemed left to chance, there was a certain importance given to every the 
smallest matter of detail. 

Passing with the chief officer from bed to bed, I heard his orders as to diet and 
treatment for the day, given most distinctly, they were noted down on the spot by 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 51 

an official in attendance for the purpose. The surgeons in uniform with their train- 
ed orderlies in proper costume, went systematically to their work, the trays with 
the dressing apparatus were well contrived and admirably furnished ; the sisters of 
charity had each their post and it's well defined duties ; they went about them 
coolly and with a skill, the evident result of perfect training, The iron bedsteads 
throughout the entire building, are of a simple but admirably contrived form. The 
uprights at the head are turned at a right angle to support a shelf wide enough to 
take any little things the patient may wish to have conveniently at hand; at the 
foot of the bed there is the same contrivance, and this shelf receives the drinking 
cup and table necessaries ; a board of perhaps half-an-inch thickness, large enough 
to lay on the lap of the patient and thus afford a table for the meals, hangs conve- 
niently from the frame work of the bed. The great fault I have for ever observed 
in the bedsteads of hospitals is, that they are made so low, as to require the sur- 
geons and attendants to be ever stooping when in any way aiding the patients; in 
this French Hospital, besides the bed on which the patient lies, there is under it a 
thick straw mattrass; this, with the greater length given to the legs of the bed- 
stead, brings the surface on which the wounded or sick man reclines, to such a level 
as to obviate the necessity of that extreme bending of the body so necessary, and 
yet so fatiguing in most hospitals. Every patient had an abundance of clean bed 
linen, as well as blankets ; indeed at the door of most of the wards were larsre 
shelves full of clean linen, bandages, &c., ready for instant use. The floors 
throughout were perfectly clean ; the height of the beds, and many of them being 
on raised divans, gave great facility of inspection in the matter of the cleanliness of 
the floors. There was only one spot in the whole building, in which I could detect 
any the least offensive smell. I was much pleased to find the Russian sick and 
wounded, occupying one of the same wards as the other patients, and evidently 
treated in all respects as well; they had no sentry over them, and seemed most 
cheerful and comfortable. 

I visited of the "Offices" first, the Dispensary; this with its adjoining laboratory, 
its abundant stock of medical materiel, and its well considered arrangement, showed 
at once the skilful adaptation of proper means to attain tlie end desired, so charac- 
teristic of the French. The baker's department— the kitchens — the large bathing 
room with its many capacious baths— each in its own way was all that could be 



52 SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 

desired. I saw the meals for the patients in course of preparation ; it was far more 
like the cooking for an hotel, than for a Hospital. 

They have established so well considered a system, affecting the supplies each 
day from every department, of the various things required, as prescribed by the 
medical authorities, that the duties of the chiefs in each separate department are 
so simplified, that all work with the order of a well regulated machine. The dis- 
penser — the cook — the baker, had evidently no time to be idle for a moment, there 
was ample evidence of the demand made upon their separate resources, but there 
was no hurry, no confusion ; it was not merely that the contrast with our own sad 
bungling executive was so manifest, but 1 am in justice bound to say, I never any 
where saw a system that seemed to me so perfectly organized and so cleverly car- 
ried out. I find this my experience and opinion quite borne out by others, whom 
I got to make even a closer inspection. 

The sisters of charity are here evidently a very valuable element; when I regard 
what these women have devoted themselves to, what my own country women are 
now attempting to achieve in the same noble path of duty, and comparing their 
lives with those mere dolls, the playthings of the male sex in the East, which 
Turkish ladies are ; I cease to be surprised at those details of Turkish domestic (?) 
economy, which are so repulsive to every well piincipled mind. Knowing as the 
English eminently do, the all powerful effect of female influence, pervading for 
good as it does the whole system of our social life, we must all regard the emanci- 
pation of the Turkish people from tlieir present degraded domestic condition, as 
only to be accomplished by their arriving at a similar conviction ; they have to 
learn that woman treated as they treat her, is valued on the falsest estimate of all 
in which her real value consists. The mere pretty puppet of the harem will in the 
end I trust be found, to have been well exchanged, for the educated companion, 
tlie affectionate, devoted, useful wife. Until this is the case, the men of the 
Turkish Empire, will continue to be just what they now are, beings passing througli 
life with no pleasures in it higher than those, which the indulgence of the lowest 
tastes afford; with no higher ambition, than the possession, of power, for the sake 
of mere selfish gain. 

A nation that has no word to express what we mean by " Home," may exist, but 
in this period of the world's history, it will be a mere life of sufferance. No power 




Pi-eoivsj , 



TURKISH LADIRS 



DiGKirison 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 63 

can survive general contempt, and what can be more contemptible than a nation 
which rears its men, in no greater respect for its women, than that which shuts 
them up as objects of jealousy, rearing them with reference to the possession of 
no other character than that, which is hkely to beget the very feeling, it thus seeks 
to restrain. 

To me it was a matter of true rejoicing, that in our own and the Hospital of the 
French, so noble and instructive a proof was afforded, in the very heart of this 
Turkish Empire, that the two greatest nations of the earth, did so rear, so form 
the minds of their women, that they could gratefully trust them with the nursing 
of the sick and wounded of their armies. 

I caimot say I consider the dress of the Sisters of Charity, or the homely dresses 
of our own nursing staff of ladies in the East, as attractive to the eye ; but what 
Frenchman or Enghshman would exchange the moral those dresses convey to our 
understanding, for the degrading slavery which the dress of the Turkish lady so 
obtrusively indicates ? 

I now bring my task to a conclusion ; since I began these pages, I am happy to 
say, there have been better accounts from the East. At home and at the Camp, 
the Authorities have been roused, to some sense of their real duties. The amount 
of deaths from exposure are on the decrease ; there is something like a vigorous 
attempt to establish older in the Hospitals ; the aid of civil surgeons has been called 
in ; energetic efforts are made to send the right things to the right places. 

The nation has had a lesson ; by the working of God's providence, we have had 
our proud boasting rebuked ; we have been compelled to learn, that war is not a 
matter in which we can rashly engage. I hope its cost in " means" in "life" and 
in the humiliation it has brought upon us, may in the end work for our national 
good ; as yet in my poor opinion, we have shewn ourselves " chastised but not 
corrected." 



54 



SCUTARI AND ITS HOSPITALS. 




<»rp."TCitT'^ 










I have here given to the reader two engravings of " relics " taken from Russians 

slain in battle ; I had them from 
some Zouaves who had made 
them part of their spoil at one 
of the actions in the Crimea. 
The smaller of the two is a sort 
of Amulet or charm worn very 
generally round the neck by the 
private soldiers of the Russian 
Army. It is made of brass, the 
two sides shut over the centre. 

The larger one was taken from the breast of a Russian Officer, under the following 

circumstances ; he was killed by a 

bayonet wound ; the point of the 

weapon struck the edge of the thin 

coating of plated metal which 

covers a piece of wood — yew, on 

which the picture of the Virgin 

and child is printed. The blow 

was given with such force, that 

there is a deep dent caused in the 

edge of the metal case and the 

wood. Had it struck lower down, 

I do not think any force would 

have pierced the picture, and thus 

the blow would not have been 

fatal. 




FINIS 



naa sawia •s'&n qnv -hq 



AH NOIlVNOa